Constellation’s great season continues with the release of Jessica Moss‘ Entanglement, another stellar album from an artist whose solo work has now surpassed her collaborative work. Her fall tour has already begun and will continue through mid-December, as she unveils her video work along with her aural sensations.
Entanglement is an album of two side-long pieces, one uninterrupted and the other broken into segments. These long-form works allow the performer room to expand on her theme as she tangles and untangles melodies and phrases, allowing them to tumble like strings in space. The violin continues to be her main instrument, layered and looped, dancing between the speakers as if held aloft on gossamer threads. When “Particles” fades to a single extended note at the end of the sixth minute, the effect is of a temporary disentanglement, a sudden clarity, an ephemeral insight. The image of a dandelion is apt: the drone of the eleventh minute is the pause before the launching of the seeds. And lo! At the end of the twelfth, there arrives a soothing voice, a light in the darkness, a beacon: follow me to safety. Even when this voice splits into its own component parts, there is a sense of order, a trustworthy framework, as Moss becomes the instrument and channels its harmonic power. “Particles” is one of the best tracks of the year, a prime example of what radio has never embraced ~ and given the shortening of attention spans, likely never will. Constellation Records calls this “long attention span music,” ironically following their lengthy introduction by a “200 WORD VERSION” (caps from Constellation) on their Bandcamp page.
Not that the movements of “Fractals” are radio singles; they operate as a more grounded version of the artist’s sound, as she lowers the amount of studio processing and incorporates folk motifs. One can imagine a gypsy band playing these melodies sad and slow around a blazing fire. Layered voice returns in “Fractals (Truth 3),” at first echoing the string line of “Fractals (Truth 2),” a connection that seems the opposite of entanglement. By the end of the album, Moss has woven seemingly disparate threads into a unified whole. Strong, dark melodies close the album, declarative and confident. The last ninety seconds introduce chant, underlining the album’s spiritual content. By the time the album ends, every knot has been undone. (Richard Allen)