Jessica Moss - CA
Montreal violinist Jessica Moss has performed and recorded with a wide spectrum of ensembles over the last two decades. Best known as a permanent member of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, she was also a founding member of avant-klezmer group Black Ox Orkestar, recorded and toured with the Vic Chesnutt band for the two albums released on Constellation, and worked extensively with Carla Bozulich’s Evangelista. She has also performed and recorded as a guest with many of Montreal’s best known artists, most recently with Big|Brave on their acclaimed 2016 record for Southern Lord. She was featured in Jem Cohen’s Empires of Tin project, and joined members of Godspeed, Fugazi, White Magic and Dirty Three to perform the live score to Cohen’s film We Have An Anchor in various locations at Europe and the USA. Most recently she’s been collaborating and performing with the band Laniakea, featuring Daniel O’Sullivan (Ulver, Grumbling Fur, Æthenor, This Is Not This Heat) and Massimo Pupillo (Zu).
Though she’s been playing violin practically her entire life, Jessica has always felt most at home in a collaborative setting and has been steadfastly devoted to the practice of ensemble playing. This has generally meant creation 'in the service of': the other parts being played, the lyrics being sung, the structure of the song, and/or the recording and mixing at hand. The practices inherent in group creation and performance inform her very person in many ways and have given her a deep understanding and respect for both group dynamics and 'working communities' in general.
Moss’ catalyst to create solo work was a 2014 virtual collaboration with Olympia, USA musician Kevin Doria, who creates intensely rich and layered minimalist drone music under the moniker Total Life and with his bands Growing and Hiss Tracts. Simultaneously she was commissioned by La Biennale de Montréal to create a site specific composition that reflected on the theme of the 2014 exhibition.
Alone in her practice space equipped with the tools, methods, and experiences gleaned from years in studios, rehearsal spaces, performing and touring, Jessica commenced building her unique style and structure. The music that came was longform and narrative, conjuring images with sounds and melodies and occasional lyrics, and telling exigent stories of troubled times. Written by ear and memory and never committed to paper, Moss conceives for live performance, where she makes use of violin, a myriad of pedals, a microphone, and three amplifiers.
Moss says she feels aligned with the transportive nature of storytelling tradition. By creating narrative music around subjects already on many minds, she aims to create a space for collective reflection. She believes sharing such “transporting moments” can be both balm and a catalyst to engagement.
In 2015 Jessica self-released the cassette Under Plastic Island, a beautiful, swirling meditation on the island of plastic trash floating in the ocean, the result of a trip to Brooklyn during which she spent time in the basement recording studio of friend and occasional collaborator Guy Picciotto.
In the last 18 months she has been invited to perform solo at Le Guess Who in Utrecht, ATP in Wales, Pop Montreal, La Biennale de Montréal, and Suoni Per Il Popolo. For the 2017 edition of Big Ears Festival (Knoxville, USA), Moss will perform solo as well as undertake multiple collaborative performances with Cohen’s Gravity Hill project (featuring Guy Picciotto, Jim White, Matana Roberts and others).
May 2017 heralds Jessica Moss’ first official full-length solo release. Comprised of two side-length multi-movement compositions, Pools Of Light is a stunning work that unfolds at a stately, inexorable pace, combining sound-art and signal-processed timbres, extended melodic and contrapuntal lines, and the periodic deployment of stark, minimalist vocals. Recorded with kindred spirit Radwan Ghazi Moumneh and released on the only label home she knows, Jessica says she “is feeling fucking grateful to be doing what I’m doing right now” and hopes to see you on the road.