Loscil – Submers


Warning: You are going to get lost in this album. Like Yo La Tengo’s Sounds of the Sounds of Science, you might put it in, expecting something else, but like South Pacific’s Constance, you’re going to get an album’s worth of wordless inspiration. And you’re going to fucking love it.
This album is loosely based around submarines; each song is named after one, and the last track is a tribute to Kursk, the Russian submarine that sank with crewmembers still inside. I’m no expert on loscil’s body of work or on the bands claimed in the past as influence (Gas, Oval), but the ebb and flow of this album is perfectly suited for this theme. You can’t help but imagine the steel hulks, lurking, thousands of feet below the surface. The tie is organic and intrinsic. Percussive snips chitter below a translucent cloud of generated tone. Motion is slow and deliberate. Tracks like “Nautilus” propel themselves quietly past; others, like “Argonaut I,” simply drift back and forth, rooted to the ground. This album has weight and form.
You might be disappointed if you were hoping the tribute to Kursk was going to be an acoustic pop-punk ballad (“So here’s to all those Russians underneath the sea / Say hello to Triton and Ariel for me”), but anyone willing to let a beautiful, stately record move over them will likely be fascinated by Submers. Despite not knowing loscil’s influences, predecessors, or contemporaries, I find myself entranced and mesmerized by this album. I can’t think of a higher recommendation than that.