Jessica Moss and Ben Shemie
From the Promoter
Jessica Moss presents a unique and mesmerizing solo performance of violin, vocals and effects.
Best known as a permanent member of Silver Mt Zion, she is also a founding member of Black Ox Orkestar and a featured collaborator with some of Montreal’s best known bands and performers. Most recently she joined the band Big Brave for their debut record out on Southern Lord.
After playing in bands and collaborating with other artists for the better part of two decades, Jessica has spent the last year creating a new body of solo work.
The pieces she has created are hypnotic and long-form, using storytelling as her main approach. Each long piece follows a specific narrative, and Jessica wishes to “tell” that story, though in mainly wordless ways. Although the narratives have weighty subject matter; (she has written pieces about the most recent war in Gaza, about the island of plastic floating in the ocean, and one with the Syrian refugee crisis at it’s heart), there are very few actual words within the music. So for the listener the subject can be more of a departure point for an individual experience of the music.
In her performances Jessica draws on all of her considerable and varied experiences as a violinist and makes use of elements of drone, repetition, music concrete, and some classical forms. She has studied the Jewish music of her heritage, and some Arabic Maqams. The music can travel seamlessly from distorted rock sounds to soft chiming waves, and it all works beautifully within the context of expressing the narrative.
She has created a unique violin set-up that has the ability to play at a remarkably powerful volume, as well as creating the most minimalist textural sounds. She makes use of looper pedals to sometimes layer many versions of the same musical phrase, but rarely in a straight-form way. More often she will set different loops going at different times, and have them meet by chance or play against each other in an ordered chaos. She uses two amplifiers in stereo and makes careful use of space that way, often sending a phrase from one to the other to create a unique spatial atmosphere.
She has been performing frequently, and recent shows have been described:
“Nothing mattered as she opened things up, drew the curtain back and revealed the stars arranged against the black of infinite space. She was using loops, pedals, effects, she was entirely blowing me away. Well, I’m a sucker for a good drone. I don’t know what-all she was doing, there were sounds floating around in the mix that didn’t sound anything like a fiddle. Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the audience had doubled, and was pressed up to the stage, rapt. Jessica Moss solo is a force of nature – if you missed this show, you’ve got another chance to see her in the Pop Montreal festival.” (Vince Tinguely, CKUT)
“Moss knows how to strike a mood, and she did so consistently, carving out spare, haunting narratives on her instrument, which she put through an array of loops and effects, evocatively layering but never overwhelming. She ended, far too soon, on a mournful note, plaintively and patiently lapping notes over a looped bed of scratchy noodling. We would have taken another hour of this, gladly. (T’Cha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette )