Review of Moss [12k2020]

Headphone Commute (US)

Although this self-titled EP consists of a single 24+ minute track, the experience captured by this recording begs to be repeated. MOSS is actually an acronym, consisting of four names, four artists and four friends – Molly Berg, Olivia Block, Steve Roden, and Stephen Vitiello. Out of this group, Berg and Vitiello have previously appeared on 12k with their 2009 release, The Gorilla Variations. Block has mostly released experimental works on Massachusetts-based Sedimental. And Los Angeles based Roden, has been contributing to Line, Trente Oiseaux, Interior Sounds and many others. Originally, the performance was only meant to be a collaboration between Berg and Vitiello, at the San Jose’s Trinity Cathedral for the 01SJ Biennial festival. But with Block and Roden in the vicinity, an opportunity presented itself that could not be passed on. The newly formed quartet creates a totally improvised sonic space, inhaling the acoustics of the church, and exhaling an immense restraint of sound. Complimented with just a touch of Berg’s voice and clarinet, Vitiello’s electric guitar, Roden’s lap steel fingerboard, and Block’s expert live manipulations of tapes, field recordings and electronics, the music on MOSS is an intricate play between the performers, the audience, and most importantly, the space itself. Recorded at midnight, the cathedral hosted a unique moment of an extemporaneous craftsmanship unfolding live within its dark, damp, and wooden belly.  I am only thankful that Vitiello recorded it, and 12k released it, so that this moment can be captured, archived, and replayed.

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