Monument Builders is the new album from loscil, the ambient/electronic project of prolific composer Scott Morgan. It was primarily created on sample-based instruments in Morgan’s century- old Vancouver home. Like that aged space, this music is also rough-hewn, with rickety samples of boiling kettles and resonant moving air. Recordings from a vintage micro-cassette recorder contribute distortion, rattles and textures that serve as both percussion and abstract aural colour.
According to Morgan, the genesis for the album may have begun as he viewed an old VHS copy of the American experimental film Koyaanisqatsi. “Something about the time-tarnished visuals and the pitch warble on Philip Glass’s epic score added a new layer of intrigue for me,” says Morgan. “Glass has always been an influence but lo-fi Glass felt like a minor revelation, as if the decay was actually enhancing the impact of the film’s message.”
The investigations on Monument Builders also took inspiration from the anti-humanist writings of influential philosopher John Gray, as well as photographer Edward Burtynsky’s iconic aerial photographs of pollution and environmental destruction. “Gray’s writing, particularly his book Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, reinforced a bleak notion I had that we humans don’t have much say in how it all turns out,” says Morgan. “With Burtynsky, I was struck by the fact that something so strikingly beautiful could be the result of large-scale waste and exploitation.”
Monument Builders was composed during a period in which the life-and-death battles of close friends and family forced Morgan to examine his own feelings on mortality. In the course of that introspection, Morgan found himself buoyed by a feeling of celebration and a stubborn sense of survival – an acknowledgement of what it means to be able to breathe and create amidst the clash of love and chaos. Ultimately, Morgan hopes the music here can offer listeners solace while leaving room for exploration and surprise.
1. Drained Lake
2. Red Tide
3. Monument Builders
4. Straw Dogs
Press quotes for previous album Sea Island:
“It’s a brilliant piece of work in its own right and continues to see Morgan peerless and at the very top of his game.” – THE QUIETUS
“It’s headphone music for sure, optimally experienced on a slow train with a glass roof so the record’s atmospheric elements can aptly complement the passing stars.” – EXCLAIM!
“A hypnosis kicks in and we discover that a massive and dense album has run its hour-plus course in what felt like… two minutes? Four days?” – TINYMIXTAPES
“As he employs guitar, piano, voice and other sounds, each new addition feels natural, like an addition to the stillness rather than a pebble in the pond.” – RESIDENT ADVISOR