Clara by Loscil
Technically accomplished conceptual album on repeat
Like recent albums by Kevin Richard Martin, Canilla and Baraboro, a primary concept underpins Scott Morgan's latest opus as Loscil. While Martin and Baraboro appropriated the saxophone, and Canilla the accordion, to inform their productions, Morgan's source of inspiration comes from a single three-minute composition performed by a 22-piece string orchestra in Budapest. The recording, lathe-cut to a 7-inch and then
scratched and abused to add texture and color, was then sampled to create all the sounds heard on Clara. Wading through the deluge of (mostly top-notch) pandemic Ambient music, an underlying concept like this is sometimes all it takes to elevate the music and capture the conscious.
With his established haunting atmospheres and deeply contemplative vibes, on seventeenth album, Morgan takes ten tracks to tell tall tales of a guiding light named Clara. Latin for "bright" the album's title cleverly implies that concealed in the shadows of this dark music is something positive, protective and restorative; posing the idea that a simple word can transform the austere into the extravagant and the melancholy into the glorious.
From the short sample, long lingering chords emerge, defining the recurring sound, like an orchestral passage accompanying a scene of reflection from an old black-and-white film, drawn out to intensify emotions, ask probing questions. This balance of technical wizardy, theory and beautifully produced composition raises the Ambient bar higher than ever.