EP Review: Loscil – “Suns”

The songs are sparse exercises in stoicism at times, but – like most Loscil recordings, it seems –  there’s a lot percolating beneath the surface. Perhaps less than usual – but still a lot.

That appears to be the verdict for Loscil’s Suns, a five-track, 30-minute EP that ruminates on and explores some of the same palette as 2016’s excellent Monument Builders, but is less a successor than a companion to that record. The EP is available now through Bandcamp.

Toying with concepts of restraint and desolation, Loscil ambient-soloist Scott Morgan presents listeners with soundscapes removed from his familiar flourishes, from the sun-baked opener (the droning “Monument Destroyers”) to a song that thrives off only the occasional interjection of a bass note (the eerie “Animal Silence”). “Edifice,” unlike its neighbors on the outing, pulses with life. But Morgan’s “redux” of Monument Builders’ “Anthropocene” (track four of five on Suns) is a stripped-down, elegiac bit of electronic air, arguably the EP’s finest moment and far from the territory of between-LPs throw-aways. The closing “Beton Brut” shows flashes of promise – is that the sustained drone of a cello, mid-thought? – but, until the closing minute or two, falls somewhat short of “Antropocene (Redux)”’s scope.

It’s surprisingly unclear what narratives Morgan is trying to deliver or what messages he’s trying to share here. The “voice” – though, of course, this is all instrumental, all sound-pictures — is a little opaque. There are shades of environmental decay, of course, a strong theme on Monument Builders, but, for commentary on the destruction of nature, it’s seriously lacking in adornments.

All in all, Suns is a fine addition to the Loscil catalogue for those hungering for more content from the ever-moving Morgan. But, if I had my druthers, I’d stick with Monument Builders.