Steve Moore Returns to His Solo Investigations on 'Beloved Exile'
With Beloved Exile, acclaimed composer Steve Moore revisits his favourite themes of minimalism, drone music, electronica, ethereal, and new age elements to bring forth one of his prettiest works.
10 May 2019
Steve Moore first arrived on the experimental music scene with Zombi, an electronically infused progressive rock act alongside the great percussionist Anthony Pattera. Through the 2000s and 2010s, Zombi would release an array of fantastic releases, always experimenting with their rock and electronic motifs. Through the years Moore remained extremely active and continued to release works under his own name, but soon enough he would traverse into the film score world. Moore got consumed by the process of scoring music for film, with all of his works after 2013's Positronic Neural Pathways being written as accompaniments to films or TV shows. Thankfully, this abstinence now comes at an end with the release of Moore's new record Beloved Exile, an immersive work that highlights the best qualities of the artist's unique sonic vision.
There has always been a transcendental quality surrounding Moore's works and Beloved Exile is no exception, with the record presenting a holistic experience collecting influences from sources as disparate as vintage synth sound collections, new age, and spiritual music, as well as an uncanny cinematic ambiance. Still, what comes through at first is actually a touch of old-school electronica, shining through "Your Sentries Will Be Met With Force". The track constructs a hazy psychedelic experience, enhanced by the fantastic, ethereal vocal delivery of Emel Mathlouti that provides a dreamy sense of wonder. Yet, this retro vibe is not the only game in town for Moore, who switches towards a more modern and soothing tone with the title track. The percussive elements of Jeff Gretz subtly dress this work through their smooth, repetitive rendition creating a mantra-like procession while the synths create an array of artifacts that possess a cubic-like volume, placing them peacefully in the surrounding space.
While Moore always dives head first into a domain of electronic music, where he really shines is when he is taking those elements towards a minimal abstraction. On "In the Shelter of the Dunes", he puts aside the electronic backbone of his music to allow Mary Lattimore's beautiful harp to dictate this beautiful procession. Through this calm manner, Moore moves to a strangely folky dimension, crafting a warm and calming moment with a slightly dark underlying theme. It is an essence that he again revisits in "Throne Lane", but through even more delicate movements and a glacial pace that exposes his affinity for drone music.
It is that essence that he also explores in the record's most ambitious moment "My Time Among The Snake Lords", with the lethargic progression awakening a primal feeling, as if an ancient, voiceless ritual is taking place. The textures of the track are stunning, with Moore masterfully moving between a deep subtlety and a more towering form, highlighted through some unexpected bass drops. Still, the most intricate part of the track is its ability to transform with Lattimore's harp joining in and slowly turning the page from the drone minimalism towards a mesmerizing, verging on psychedelic rendition.
It seems like taking some time away from writing music without an accompanying medium has given Moore the chance to observe and better understand the inner workings of his compositions. It was a process worth the time, and it has now resulted in one of the prettiest records Moore has released.