by Simon Scott
miacd 011 - 2009
This is the debut full-length release by the UK\'s Simon Scott. Scott has had a notable musical past: in the early \'90s he was the drummer for the renowned shoegaze band Slowdive. Upon leaving Slowdive, he formed the more electronic-based group Televise. He also set up his own label, Kesh Recordings, and has so far released titles by the likes of Hannu, Sebastian Roux, Aus and Mark Templeton. More recently, Scott has been involved in several diverse projects, including his work as a member of Seavault (with Antony Ryan from Isan), and collaborations with Machinefabriek, Jasper TX and Emmanuele Errante. With Navigare, there are shades of Scott\'s previous output and musical interests, but as a whole, the album marks a bold new direction. Navigare opens with \"Introduction Of Cambridge,\" a shimmering wall of sound, its ethereal tones and slow-burning drones gradually drawing closer and closer, creating gorgeous uplifting melodies and textures. The processed guitar combined with gentle swathes of interference and underlying rhythms echoes the processes of Chain Reaction\'s productions as much as it does the screeching, arcing feedback lines of Kevin Shield\'s guitar work. Navigare shares an affinity with the melodic content of Fennesz\'s work, the dark beauty of Tim Hecker\'s sound, and houses elements of the restraint found in Andrew Chalk\'s drone compositions. What really devastates here is Scott\'s ability to merge ambient passages with such memorable melodic cycles, taking the simplest of ideas and building on them, generating murky hooks and submerged \"riffs.\" Scott explores textures using a variety of instruments including sitar, violin, cello, and flute, merging them with excerpts from field recordings; it all sounds so effortless. The looping rhythms and slow guitars rise and grow, at times approaching something oppressive; select pieces such as \"Flood Inn\" house an underlying weight, comparable to Justin K. Broderick\'s Jesu and Final projects. Perhaps the hazy drums, bass and guitar drift of \"The ACC\" presents the most recognizable of stylistic qualities from Scott\'s back catalog; a groove that recalls the Souvlaki-era sound in all its glory, re-imagined in a new, darker and more expansive form. Additionally, a guest appearance from label mate Jasper TX, a vocal contribution from Moskitoo, and a track co-written with Rafael Anton Irisarri, adds even more depth to Scott\'s already ambitious vision.