“Mit dem Alter fängt man an sich für Countrymusik zu interessieren”, sangen die Aeronauten einst. Hätten aber genauso gut auch Jazz, Klassik oder Ambient meinen können. Musik also, die eben nicht beim ersten Hören knallt wie eine in den Silvesterhimmel geschossene Leuchtrakete, dafür aber auch nicht sofort verpufft, sondern noch lange in Kopf und Herz nachhallt. So wie die Tracks von Scott Morgan alias Loscil aus Vancouver. Dort lebt und arbeitet der Kanadier, kreiert Soundeffekte für Videospiele und veröffentlicht Musik auf Labels wie Kranky, Ghostly, Glacial Movements oder – ohne Umwege – direkt auf seiner Bandcamp-Seite.
Sein Künstleralias Loscil entlieh Morgan einst dem Software-Synthesizer Csound, eine Mischung aus “Loop” und “Oscillate”. Zu dieser Zeit studierte er auch noch an der Simon Fraser Universität Komposition, spielte als Drummer in diversen Bands und stellte erste eigene Tracks fertig. Einige davon schickte er 2001 schließlich als Demo an Kranky (Tim Hecker, Deerhunter, Grouper, Stars Of The Lid, …) und brachte dort sein Debüt Triple Point heraus.
Seine aktuelle LP Sketches From New Brighton (2012) erschien ebenfalls auf Kranky und gehört zu den besten Ambient-Alben des vergangenen Jahres. Neun Tracks, die voller Schönheit strahlen ohne sich im Kitsch zu verlaufen, die im Raum schweben aber doch spannend bleiben, anecken, immer wieder auf- und genauer zuhören lassen. Ein Sound, der genauso an den Rändern von Dub Techno wie bei klassischen organischen Klängen Anschluss findet und immer die Balance zwischen Melancholie und Hoffnung wahrt.
Für uns hat Loscil den dritten Ashorecast gemixt und zudem einige Fragen rund um Ambient, neue Hörgewohnheiten, seine Alltime-Faves und vieles mehr beantwortet:
Hi Scott, thanks for your mix! Please tell us about your idea and intention behind it.
When I started the mix, I really liked the idea of including Terry Riley’s “A Rainbow In Curved Air” – a classic piece of minimalism. I happened to notice Tim Hecker’s “Blood Rainbow” and Rainbow Blood pieces and just wondered how many pieces I could find that referred to rainbows. Sometimes, it’s fun to assemble a mix this way – like a librarian or a researcher… and it was just assembled in Ableton Live.
Loscil – Khanamoot (Sketches From New Brighton)
How did you get into ambient – and do you also produce music of other genres, like techno, house or whatever?
I got into ambient by way of the combination of interests in progressive rock music and academic computer music. Both those things were going on in my life at the same time around the early-1990’s… then I started getting more into Eno, The Orb, Aphex Twin and things like that… currently, I don’t do much other than Loscil. I wouldn’t call it exclusively ambient music and I’ve always felt a little trapped by that title as sometimes I like to venture more into the classical/concert hall realm and sometimes I like to stay in a dark, electronic cave.
Besides your own music, albums and singles, are you also working on movie soundtracks?
I haven’t scored a film in a while but many years ago I did and I am in talks with people about doing it again. I have done a couple game soundtracks as Loscil including Osmos and the iOS game Hundreds. I’ve had my music licensed for films like The Corporation and recently Occupy Love. I have also scored games when I used to work as a Sound Director in the game industry. I actually quite enjoy working on soundtracks.
Chill-out floors back in the days were always there, at every party. But now they seem gone, at least in Germany. When you get booked – is it for ambient floors at a regular party or more for concerts and art venues and stuff like that?
Generally speaking, I am more comfortable in the concert environment. I’ve done quite a few collaborations with live performers and such and this tends to go over well in a small club or a concert hall setting. I’ve played the odd “chill out” room but I don’t think I enjoy this as much as it’s not about active listening.
The artwork of your LP Sketches From New Brighton is done by Carrie Walker. How do you know her? And it’s not that easy to find an image that matches your visual idea of your own music, is it?
Carrie and I have been friends for quite a few years. She is a very talented illustrator and I’ve always wanted to work with her. When Sketches… was coming together I knew I wanted to have an artist’s rendition of the view across the inlet from New Brighton park and it just seemed like an obvious choice to ask Carrie to do it. When I asked her, she was into it and we just went from there. The original is on my wall and it’s one of my favourite pieces.
Your last LP was released (like most of your albums) on Kranky. But you also release music by yourself via Bandcamp – in times of low record sales, what do you think is the future for abstract, ambient or experimental music? Is it pages like Bandcamp or more DIY-Labels that still release music on CD and Vinyl?
I’m a believer in versatility. We’re in a very interesting time because as music becomes more convenient, it becomes less valuable but in becoming less valuable, people crave a meaningful relationship with music and it’s creators. So, I think right now, releasing your music in any and all ways is important. It’s important to appeal to those that want the convenience but it’s equally important to do special things for the truly committed collector. I’m not sure what the future holds but I’m a firm believer that artists will survive so long as civilization does. I think it involves being creative and being driven to share inspiration in whatever way possible for money or not.
Loscil – Second Narrows (Sketches From New Brighton)
Talking about the future of releasing and consuming music – what do you think about streaming services like Spotify?
I don’t know. It’s easy to complain about these things but this is the way it is now. I can’t say whether they do more harm or good for an artist. I’ve always felt this dichotomy with illegal downloads too. If people are downloading and talking about your music, they are promoting it. But, there are artists like myself that if we sold just a few more records a year, we could survive on music alone. I think it’s easy to use Spotify or other streaming services as a scapegoat. I certainly do. But that’s an emotional reaction. One day, I’d like to dig into it a little more. As long as the internet develops in this direction, it will be a problem but it’s a problem for music released on an old model. Perhaps it’s time we artists develop means of releasing music that can’t be streamed or can’t even be packaged? Music that is not static or linear. Music like Glenn Gould or Eno have imagined? Music that is adaptive and involves user interactivity? I’m not saying this alone is the answer but I think we are in the middle of a paradigm shift and artists need to respond, not strictly for monetary reasons, but for reasons of creativity and engaging an audience.
What does your studio set-up look like? Do you only work in the studio or do you also produce ideas and sketches while being on the road?
My studio is not very dramatic. It is a laptop and some speakers really. I love working within the computer. I learned how to manipulate sound on a computer – that is essentially my background. If I need to record, I either do that myself at home or go to a studio but all the electronic production is done in the box.
Loscil – Gallium (Untitled)
Your alltime favourite Top 5 ambient albums?
Oh boy, that’s a tough one. I’ll stay close to records I’ve listened to death.
- Eno – Music for Airports
- Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works
- Gas – Pop
- Stars Of The Lid – And Their Refinement Of The Decline
- Oval – 94 Diskont
Your current favourite Top 5 new producers or albums?
Off the top of my head. (I’m only going to offend someone by picking anyone here):
- Tim Hecker
- Marcus Fischer
- Rafael Irisarri
- Kane Ikin
Any upcoming releases you want to mention?
I’ve just finished a collaboration with Brock van Wey. No release date or title as of yet but this is going to be quite an intense ambient experience. I’m also self-releasing a collaboration with Seattle pianist Kelly Wyse – a collection of my works adapted for the piano called Intervalo. This is a vinyl release and will be coming out within the next month or two.
0:00 Tim Hecker – Blood Rainbow
3:37 Fieldhead – This Train Is a Rainbow
7:12 Noveller – Rainbows
10:09 White Williams – Lice in the Rainbow
12:53 Leyland Kirby – Stay Light, There Is A Rainbow A Coming
24:47 Loscil – Lament For A Grey Rainbow
30:31 Terry Riley – A Rainbow In Curved Air
Fotos: Mark Mushet