… abstracting clouds into miasmic, painterly canvases of smoke and shadowplay…
Released: August 2019
Mastered By: Rafael Anton Irisarri
If You Like: Tim Hecker, Stars Of The Lid, Brian McBride, Fennesz, and William Basinski
Scott Morgan‘s humble upbringing, from a 2001 debut to his 12th LP on Kranky, can be traversed as a single oscillating sound wave, currently at the peak of its cycle, in preparation for a larger sway. Whereas some artists have turned sideways to explore their newly found fortune through a genre no longer palatable to the scene, Morgan has continued to build-up upon his solid foundation to make the music that gets better every day. By now I have listened to Equivalents continuously for a few weeks straight, and I love all of its aspects of production. It’s an absolute gem of an album that you will find to compliment all moods and one which will undoubtedly appear in the best lists of the year! Let’s dive inside to find out more…
The long, warm, tail-gated breeze of eight equivalents encompasses all frequencies of the palette. Its deep and slow pulsating bass, the shaded tones, and subdued hues evolve in thick and rising mists, to cloud all the empty space in woolly blankets of its sound. The rhythm is expressed in fluctuations of these waves, vibrating through each layer in a sort of penetrative whir, where after numerous repeats the music melds with quivers of your body. The melodies are sparse, like vapours in the morning fog, but these disperse and radiate once you observe the album from a distance. The texture seems a little dim, with opaque pads and filtered sweeps. But when you finally return to spend more time with Morgan’s work, you recognize at once its brilliance, its luminosity and glow.
The name Equivalents referred to Alfred Stieglitz’s notion of the photographs as being equivalent to his “philosophical or emotional states of mind;” the same could be said of these eight weighty, shivering chiaroscuros of sound. Each piece unfolds and evolves enigmatically, adrift in low oxygen atmospheres, shifting dramatically from pockets of density to dissipated streaks of moonlit vapour.
This album was inspired by a series of early 20th century photographs by Alfred Stieglitz, “abstracting clouds into miasmic, painterly canvases of smoke and shadowplay,” with Morgan’s own photographs for the cover and eight separate shots for each piece, taken throughout Cascadia in 2018. This is a pure concept album, with an additional contribution by Secret Pyramid appearing for “Equivalent 7”. A truly gorgeous work which I feel honoured to encounter. Be sure to catch this Canadian artist live, currently on tour through the UK and Europe (see loscil.ca for full schedule). Highly recommended!