Review of Loss [12k2037]

Exclaim (CA)

It’s been seven years since Marcus Fischer’s last solo contribution to the 12k catalogue. There have been three collaborations with Taylor Deupree in the meantime, but fans of Fischer’s individual take on lush minimalism will be pleased to see this return.

It’s a poignant comeback. Loss addresses its theme conceptually rather than specifically. The result is no less powerful, though; Fischer’s principal method on this project is the manipulation and resulting reduction of various sound sources. He recorded and then re-recorded sounds through multiple speakers in different spaces, then did the same with reel-to-reel tape to produce generation loss.

“While” is a lovely example of how naturally beautiful damaged tape can sound. A quiet solo piano performance warbles its way through the piece. On top of that we hear metallic clangs, a strummed guitar and subtle, efficiently placed distortion. The album’s title track demonstrates an equally intricate restraint. Fischer has made the music sound distant, like it’s being played in the next room. “Veering,” on the other hand, feels like it’s inside your head. It’s a brilliantly evocative ambient piece with a variety of sounds to unpack.

Loss is melancholic rather than sad. Because there’s so much for careful listeners to find on these seven pieces, and so much thought has gone into their composition, it’s a moving, inspiring pleasure to listen to.

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