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The cover of Sketches from New Brighton is a painting of a bay, with mountains in the background. It’s an appropriate image for loscil, the long-running ambient project of Scott Morgan, because his music has always had a distinctively aquatic sound. (Not surprisingly, this isn’t the first time he’s used a water motif for his cover art.) This is loscil’s sixth album for Kranky, and as a result Morgan’s developed a satisfying style that doesn’t need to be changed much. The one noticeable aspect of this collection is the prominence of beats, an element that’s always had a minor, subtle role in his composition. Opening “Khanahmoot” is a wonderful mixing of the loscil’s traditional interpretive sounds of the sea, mixed with beats that give his music a new sense of direction. Delicate, though, is the order of the day; “Second Narrows,” “Coyote,” and “Prairie Trails” are gentle, lulling songs that evoke a dreamlike state. Morgan stated that these songs were inspired by the scenes of nature of New Brighton, an area outside of Vancouver; his scenes are pure sonic Impressionism.
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