Published Nov 09, 2016Scott Morgan (aka Loscil) has built a career crafting instrumental thinkpieces centred on strong themes. The Vancouver producer has explored ocean life (2002's Submers), '60s literature (2012's City Hospital) and Vancouver landscapes (2004's First Narrows and 2012's Sketches from New Brighton).
On Monument Building, his eighth LP, Morgan finds inspiration from Phillip Glass's score to the 1982 experimental film Koyaanisqatsi. Pulling together seven tracks in just over 40 minutes, Monument Builders seems to examine despair and hopelessness, as "Drained Lake," "Straw Dogs" and "Anthropocene" reference the manufactured landscapes photos of Edward Burtynsky and the anti-humanist writings of English political philosopher John Gray. The haunted results find Morgan mimicking the warped, degraded and skewed sounds of old VHS cassettes while writing the majority of the album using sample-based instruments and live French horn, courtesy of Vancouver virtuoso Nick Anderson.
The LP kicks off with two of the album's broadest piano and synth melodies, but like the landscapes it mirrors, each track seems to deteriorate in its mood until the final track "Weeds," a moody drone contained within a synthetic broadcast. Monument Building finds Loscil at his most focused, political and meticulous, a bleak but fulfilling listen whether you're aware of the album's brainy themes or not. (Kranky)