Galaxy Heart explores the more exploratory and extemporaneous side of Moss' profoundly expressive instrumental lyricism. Where Phosphenes showcased some of Moss’ most deliberate and accomplished post-classical compositions to date, Galaxy Heart quivers with a raw and searching energy, juxtaposing rough-hewn and honed pieces. Expanding the palette to include spiky semi-improvised electric guitar along with guest contributions from drummer Jim White (Dirty Three, Xylouris White) and double bassist Thierry Amar (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mt Zion), the album inscribes an instrumental space of bristling anguish, melancholia, resoluteness and conviction
Opening with the distorted dissonant string clusters of “Resistance Creature” and the through-composed knock-out “Uncanny Being” (with White’s roiling drums and Amar’s upright bass the simmering substratum for Moss’ alternately gritty and rounded violin movements) Galaxy Heart pivots to electric guitar and sludged post-industrial drone on “This Continuous Spectrum”, a descending melodic motif recurring over doomy low-end bursts and a slow broken-steam-engine beat. Side One closes with two vocal tracks: “Is There Room For All Of It” (again featuring White and Amar) has Moss singing and playing organ in a spine-tingling long-form unison melody; the chilling title track “Galaxy Heart” calls back fractured electric guitar and droning pulse, with Moss belting out initially strangled, strident lines that give way to gently layered voicings in a cratered spaciousness—these dynamics then cycling forward like the sequences of a dying star.
Side Two features three superb violin études, each distinguished by Moss’ distinctively amplified violin timbres and her unique ear for the tropes of various folk traditions, interspersed with the plaintive but stately vocal song “Enduring Oceans”, and closing with “Opened Ending”, her mesmerising contribution to Constellation’s Corona Borealis Long-form Singles Series from 2020, previously released only as a digital track and short film by indie legend Jem Cohen (Fugazi’s Instrument documentary, Benjamin Smoke, Museum Hours).
Galaxy Heart is cosmic music of dark matter and interstellar dust, of gravitational waves and celestial grit that connect messy terrestrial life—with its human, animal, natural suffering and beauty—to chaotic and unruly universal forces.
JESSICA MOSS ON GALAXY HEART
and in the absence of any markers of the outside world I had previously
inhabited, the jamspace became a holy space, and I wanted to be free. I
wanted to expand, fill the room... I wanted to be a conduit for grand
ideas without needing to imagine how they "fit" within my own
(self-constructed) artistic constraints.
The isolation and exterior constraints required that I go deep
inside to find a way forward, and on that internal journey I encountered
some deeply ensconced self-imposed limits and obstacles. I recognized
that I’d been relying on these as guideposts, but upon inspection I
discovered they’d also been standing in my way. Blocking some unexplored
paths towards unhindered expression.
With no external pressure of deadlines, with no outside ears or
eyes... with no idea how or when I would ever be in public again, I made
it my pursuit to face those doubts and worn-out notions of what I
believed to be my limits head on; and then to let them go.
And in so exploring, I found new ways, new loves. Let my violin
lead. Let my voice lead. Played the guitar loud, in the way I love but
never believed belonged to me. I let those things in, welcomed them
instead of stopping them at the gate. Left space. Took up space. I wrote
a song, recorded the vocals in my bed. Sent Nadia's old organ drum
machine through my pedal board and made some beats, allowed them to find
their way into the music and stay put. I asked my friend/ favourite
drummer Jim White if he'd want to record some tracks for me, in virtual
musical communion with Thierry, and he beautifully obliged.
This album represents me throwing out some old preconceptions of
myself and my instrument, and stretching my relationship with solo
expression further than I knew I could reach. And consequently,
represents what feels like new doors opened, new paths forward.
Somehow, in the middle of everything, I’m still looking forward. – Jessica Moss
180gLP / CD / DL • Constellation • CST168 Release date: 7 October 2022 Genre: Experimental, Modern Classical, Improv, Avant-Folk
Resistance Creature Uncanny Being (Violin Study #2) This Continuous Spectrum Is There Room For All Of It Galaxy Heart Light Falls On Every Door Uncanny Body (Violin Study #1) Enduring Oceans Undirected Opened Ending
music composed and performed by Jessica Moss, with Thierry Amar on upright bass ; video by Jessica Moss, Stacy Lee and Eve Parker Finley.
Picture of Jessica Moss: Stacy Lee. Album product shot : Constellation Records.