Saturday, August 04, 2007

A Drop Of Winter Sun

Mosca - Moments Never Forget
Mosca - Another Summer Spent In Forests

It must soon be time to add electronica to the list of great Scottish exports, such is the quality of the music being produced in the region at the moment. Following excellent recent long players from Rubens, Dextro and the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, comes Mosca’s ‘Winterland’ - a stunning 10-tracker available to purchase as a download from the Glasgow imprint Herb Recordings. Mosca is the pseudonym of the Falkirk-based producer Jason Taylor. He’s been around for a while now, releasing a handful of well received EP’s on various net labels including last year’s ambient EP ‘Of Need and Belonging’ on Herb, but ‘Winterland’ has the feeling of being his debut album proper, containing a selection of recordings made over the past two years.

From an inauspicious start (the BoC-lite opener ‘1976’), ‘Winterland’ soon journeys on an upwards trajectory with ‘Moments Never Forget’, as shimmering Cocteaus’ treated guitars and a solid break (with a juicy distorted bass drum) are gleefully illuminated when Taylor launches a gorgeous spiralling melody to orbit the track. Elsewhere, ‘Those Eyes, That Smile’ works around a series of pulsing drones and skittering percussion, closing with swathes of church-like organs, ’ In Retrospect This Was Never A Good Idea’ is dark, glitchy programming and ‘This Ocean Beach is Ours’ is brooding ambience.

However, ‘Winterland’ really starts to scale the craggy peaks of brilliance when its creator focuses on his key strengths – strong melodies and sumptuous beats, the likes of which these ears haven’t heard since ‘Music Has the Right to Children’. ‘Our Light Shone So Brightly’ is a fine example of Taylor’s craft, cheekily utilising the funky drum break from Ultramagnetic MC’s ‘Feelin’ It’ to provide the backbone for layer upon layer of psychedelic, analogue melodies and a lion’s yawn of a bass line. Even better than this is the euphoric double header of ‘Another Winter Spent in Hibernation’ and ‘Another Summer Spent in Forests’. These two tracks mark Taylor out as the natural successor to Ulrich Schnauss, as cathedral-sized, melodic walls of sound and awesome drum programming collide. What he’s doing is by no means groundbreaking, but the layering of sounds is expertly handled, the production is second to none, and the end result is incredibly uplifting. This is machine music with real feeling, inspiring a broad range of emotions within the listener – play it loud to salve the soul.

‘Winterland’ is the aural equivalent of a dram of the finest single malt; it slips down effortlessly and gently radiates warmth from within. Maybe it’s the August release date, but the album seems to me to be perfect summer music and it’s unlikely you’ll hear a better collection of electronic music all year. Highly recommended.

Buy 'Winterland' from Beatport or search iTunes
Mosca at My Space
Herb Recordings website
Herb Recordings My Space