Many creatives will report that their environments have an impact on their music. From the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, ambient duo Loess release their long awaited follow up album “Pocosin”. One listen and your senses embrace the icy spaciousness of their mid Atlantic surrounds. There is room, there is space. Underlying their instrumentals is a subtle yet pervading argument between anxiety and optimism.
I dare you to lose yourself in Loess’ atypical use of percussive elements suggests a cycle of building and collapsing. This is production that deliberately blurs the lines between rhythm, melody and sound. Loess master the “less is more” ideology. I was curious about their unusual approach to music, that is to say their strict focus on the source and character of sound, and wanted to know more.
What is your first stand out musical memory?
Ian’s earliest musical memory was hearing The Beatles first records that his parents played constantly when he was a child. Clay’s earliest memory was probably hearing Handel’s Messiah on repeat from the family reel to reel tape player.
Describe where you live and how this affects the music you make?
It’s a relatively densely populated area with large swaths of protected forests which have unique physical and ecological value. We are also not far from the ocean and spend a lot of time on and around the water. Living in a densely populated area gives us the appreciation for, and desire to get away to, the quiet spots and engage with everything that can be heard and found in those landscapes.
The subtle sounds and indistinct murmurs found there certainly inspire us and likely shape the sound of our music in some way.
Do you ever struggle with the “less is more” approach to your music? How does Loess resolve different ideas for a song as a duet?
We are believers in a somewhat more minimal approach to production. Our studios, equipment, and production techniques, reflect this simplified and straightforward approach. Similarly, in terms of composition; if an element doesn’t add anything to a song then it should not be there.
We consider anything that is not absolutely necessary to the song to be excessive. Sometimes the lack of sound or space that can open up in a track is as important as the sound that surrounds it.
Working collaboratively enables us to constantly check and question each other on the necessity of each element of a song, although we find common ground fairly naturally.
Your music is cinematic and atmospheric. If you could work with any film director and write a film score who would you choose and why? (hard question, i know!)
We can’t think of a director in particular, but we are often told that our music has a certain cinematic quality to it. We could imagine working with any director whose has similar creative aspirations for film.
With the release of Pocosin, what are your aspirations?
I suppose we don’t have any specific aspirations with the release, although we appreciate it when listeners understand, appreciate, or can in some way relate to its somewhat dark and foreboding theme. We think this collection of songs worked well to describe the past several years of our lives collectively and individually.
Anything else you would like to add?
We would like to thank Mike at n5md for giving our music an outlet. Thanks to all those who waited to hear this release and those who might be listening for the first time. We hope each listen continues to unearth new qualities to the music and an overall broader experience for the listener.