"..minimal arrangement, slow movements in tone, evocation of a particular environment and place..."
Born in Canada, Scott Morgan apparently appropriated his Loscil alter ego from the operation code within the sound synthesis system Csound. Although he admits he rarely actually uses Csound to create his compelling minimalist recordings, he asserts that looping and oscillating are the basics of his music-making process. Loscil’s debut, Triple Point, was named after the scientific term for the temperature where a material can exist with its solid, liquid, and gas phases all in equilibrium. Based on a collection of demos entitled A New Demonstration of Thermodynamic Tendencies, the album takes the titles of its minimalist dub/techno/ambient-inspired tracks from the language of thermodynamics, the science that investigates the conversion of heat into mechanical force or energy and vice-versa. However, Morgan has confessed that track titles such as "Hydrogen," "Enthalpy," and "Discrete Entrophy" were lifted from a book bought in a second-hand store and "presented as a sort of false document on thermodynamics" rather than having an explicit correlation with the music. Morgan studied music at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, facilitating the musician’s exposure to 20th century experimental composers like John Cage and Stockhausen (while, incongruously, Morgan simultaneously played drums for a series of indie bands). Drawing stated influence from contemporary post-techno musicians such as Oval and Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas, as well as early electronic music pioneers such as Brian Eno and Raymond Scott, Triple Point’s fluctuating tones and pulses are explicitly intended to drift between the intuitive and the intellectual. Perhaps echoing descriptions of Loscil's music as deep and oceanic, the follow-up, Submers, looked to underwater craft for its emotional and thematic coherence. Each of the track titles was named after a submarine, such as "Argonaut I," "Nautilus," and "Le Plongeur." The release closed with a touching requiem for the crew of ill-fated Russian nuclear vessel Kursk. For 2004’s First Narrows, which was inspired in part by the first gap in the entrance to the Burrard Inlet, Morgan collaborated with other musicians, an approach he repeated for 2006’s Plume. Released in 2010, Endless Falls was another step forward, featuring vocals courtesy of his Destroyer bandmate Dan Bejar on its final track. 2012's Sketches from New Brighton took its name an oceanside park in Vancouver that was considered to be the city's birthplace. Under the moniker of Loscil Sound Design, Morgan creates interactive music and sound design for websites, CD-Rs, film and video projects, and "ambient environments."
Hello, how are you?
I'm well, thanks.
What are you currently listening to?
Simon Scott gave me his 'Navigare' CD when we met in Prague and I've been listening to that a lot. Really nice work.
Is there a story behind the band name?
"Loscil" is lifted from a computer music language called Csound. It is a function that loosely means "looping oscillator" and can be used to loop sampled sound… I thought it was a nice, simple, abstract name that encapsulates all that I do with computer music.
Care to shed some light on your latest release 'Intervalo'; theme, favorite track, etc?
'Intervalo' came about through a live collaboration with Kelly Wyse (pianist) while playing Rafael Irisarri's Substrata Festival in Seattle in 2012. I retrofit a few pieces to included the piano ("Endless Falls", "Hastings" "Sunrise") and we also recorded some works that were specifically written with the piano in mind including the Harold Budd tribute, "Rye Fields" and the Lunar Caustic soundtrack, "City Hospital". In the end, I was so happy with the results that I decided to record and release it myself as a special edition.
Is there a reason you didn't release this one through Kranky?
Partly because I just had a release come out on Kranky in the fall and wanted to get this out right away to bring on tour, but also because it's reworked material and something more suited to a limited edition which is not really something Kranky does.
Speaking of Kranky, whom/who is you favorite Kranky artist of all time?
Wow, tough call but it's probably a close tie between Stars Of The Lid and Pan American.
Got any other projects we should know about?
I have a collaboration with bvdub in the can that will be coming out on Glacial Movements later this year. I also have a 7" single being pressed right now on my friend's label JAZ records. That should be available soon. I've commissioned a series of remixes of the track "Second Narrows", which was written as a soundtrack to an iPad game called 'Hundreds'. The collection of 100 minutes of remixes is currently being mastered and will be released very soon via bandcamp.
What movie would work best on mute while listening to you music?
Hmm. Perhaps 'Stalker'.
You can only keep/listen to ONE album for the rest of your life ..which album would it be?
John Cage's 4'33" (OK, I'm cheating).
Are you living your dream? I am living one of my dreams.
I still dream of owning a specialty farmhouse brewery one day.
Loscil recently released 'Intervalo', you will go buy that now.