Peruse the ether for reviews of this album, and surely you will see writers invoking oceans and blue depths. After all, a collection whose tracks are odes to submarines straightforwardly invites such imagery. But come to think of it philosophically, submarines are also spaceships. While engaging this work I always remember a line by Poet Malena Morling. It went something like, “I always wonder about space, how it never ends.” I believe Submers comprehends “endless space” as much as it probes “oceanic depth.”
This album, and Loscil’s work, in general, has a oneiric quality, in that Mr. Morgan helps you traverse vast spaces while remaining still. The songs are impeccably organized bouquets of circulating, oscillating, chattering, hissing, placating, and agitating layers of audible vibrations, that pool, and loop together slowly, only to (slowly) wind down and die out. To one’s amusement and dismay, Submers is primarily created by complex organizations of filtered and manipulated samples from the western classical universe.
In the feel of these tracks, there is a lingering want for something intangible and more extensive than ourselves as I am propelled into the unknown unknowns by Argonaut I, and Gymnote. The space hums with deep bass. The timbre is beautifully unique and hard to find in vinyl pressings of electronic work. These two tracks could represent the last flickering lights of a submarine shining on a giant skeleton as the sailors plummet into depths that haven’t seen the light in a million years. These tracks could also represent a voyage into luminous fractal formations of constellations in uncharted galaxies.
Speaking of which, I often felt Loscil’s work has a fractal quality where same patterns repeat to infinite depths. For example, in Nautilus the beat design is enveloped by an aura of low-frequency sounds interspersed by uncanny flutes. The tracks take us to a state where everything seems vast; after all, it could also be as if we have become tiny insects looking at the magnified world with the wonder of space travel.
I find myself walking towards Loscil’s LPs in many improvisatory and premeditated mix sets. I especially love the track Resurgam, as the melodic movements could be easily harmonized and improvised with the beauty of an evening Raga like Yaman Kalyan. In the mix Rain of Rivers (@ Queitcalm Records) I especially enjoyed playing Resurgam as an accentuated bridge between Deru’s soulfully sad 1979 and the eerily beautiful melodic journeys of Everything (by Ben Lukas Boysen and Sebastian Plano). In “My Immaculate Morsels of Sadness” I could not help but allow Submers to arrive twice in the form of Triton and Gymnote, so as to converse and juxtapose with the dramatic compositional elements of Robot Koch and Cinematic Orchestra.
If you chance upon this work, be prepared to travel, inside and out, submerged, looking through a periscope or a telescope. Perhaps someday Loscil will have an album meditating on spaceships, but until then this is it.
By Drastic Steps, June 14, 2019.
Favorite track: Resurgam.