Mich Cota is a local Montreal ambient sound-artist who entertains crowds with longstanding musical phrases that thrive on subtlety. On their new album Sapphic, Cota relishes in a varying collection of moods for various amounts of time, telling the story of “a body that was born and mistaken for one with a sex.”*
Beginning with a light-hearted 90 second romp, lush with bright chords mixing with punchy keyboard effects, Cota quickly switches gears with a much more anxiety-ridden looping melody on “I Refuse” before the extremely darkly tinged “To Destroy What I Have Left” arrives riding the mood of all light. As the album moves along, Cota continues to cultivate new soundscapes with bright circulating chords returning on “Why Try 2 Love” and transcendent vocals coming into the picture on “Something Impossible.”
Although Cota uses a bright synthesizer as their main melodic voice, the album manages to grapple with heavy topics with a mature ease, which may come as a result of the production strategies. The album is very layered with tense distant sounds bathing the melodic ideas in and pressing bass lines adding urgency to the tempo. The echo and reverb serve as a shading device, blurring the lines between each actively moving component of the soundscape. Cota is brilliant in terms of melodic development. The simple ideas never lose sense of their origin simply building upon the skeletal idea.
My first impressions of Sapphic were quite positive. The album is very well thought out with contrast taking a higher position than a typical work of this style. Because the genre holds basic melodic development in such high standing, artists can sometimes trap themselves in a single mood from beginning to end leading to stagnation. Through the use of varying moods and track-lengths, Cota keeps their witness guessing throughout.
*this quote taken from the liner notes of the album