Pools of Light by Jessica MossRelease date: May 5, 2017
Label: Constellation Records
Those who perhaps like to delve a little deeper into their music (specifically fans of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra) will no doubt know of the many musicians involved, and their many and various other projects. Having played with the aforementioned band, and being involved with many other albums ranging from Broken Social Scene to Vic Chesnutt, as well as the now defunct Yiddish-folk band Black Ox Orkestar, it seems the time is right for Jessica Moss to present something completely of her own volition her debut solo album Pools of Light. And to those who are aware of the performer, and her important role in the various bands she’s worked on, this here is a release worth waiting for.
It seems across the whole body of work, we’re seeing Moss truly express herself creatively, using every single idea and concept to draw out an incredibly varied yet cohesive work. Elements of folk suddenly give way to the epic thundering ideas of post-rock, before throwing it all downstream with more drone-elements, all decorated with a beautiful array of concepts that really bring it all to life. With the violin being the main source of the music itself, backed up by a wide range of loop effects that help bring powerful and/or haunting vocals into the mix. It culminates into a very maximalist album experience, one that knows exactly when to bring things up, and bring things down.
Across the album, many ideas bubble forth to the surface, unearthing links to the various projects we’ve seen Moss’s involvement in. The album’s opener seems to hearken back to the old days of Black Ox Orkestar, until it evolves into a very epic Silver Mt. Zion rock movement. The movements flow beautifully, all due to Moss’ incredible deft hand at live performance, allowing her to string together everything into one large cohesive vision. It feels like Moss is ripping open the curtains with an incredible strength and fervour, throwing in the light that grabs us and throws us into a chasm of mystery and intrigue, before letting it all slowly dissolve away.
We’ve perhaps seen similar elements across the many Silver Mt. Zion albums, of a terrible and epic grandiosity that threatens to consume, before it gives way to something hauntingly beautiful. The main strength of Pools of Light though is Moss’ incredible creative talent, and her ability to illicit the same emotions and feelings that the full band easily brings, all in one solo performance. The juxtaposition of many styles, concepts, genres and ideas hasn’t resulted in a muddy and confusing work, but rather one that allows its audience to start thinking about a range of different things. Here, we’ve now been given a chance to see just what Moss has to offer, and my goodness is it stunning.