this solo project is the culmination of everything i have learned so far as a musician in studios, rehearsal spaces and on the road.
it’s grown out of 15 years with my band Silver Mt. Zion and all of my other projects, collaborations and life experiences. without these, this project wouldn’t exist, wouldn’t have come about before now.
it’s developed with a huge love and respect for audience; for the experience of being in an audience, and the experience of being in front of an audience. in my main band, i have felt that the best thing we could do up there was live an example of people trying to work together to present a thesis that we believed in deeply but was too difficult for us to actually do half the time… i felt that our beauty, such that it was, was in that lived, sweaty struggle. and i suppose i am continuing that belief in my way, by presenting a very complicated set with only myself to rely on, without using the tools (computer, backing tracks) that would simultaneously make it much easier to perform, and less live and immediate. the way i do it (a million pedals, live building and layering and breaking back down) guarantees that it’s a little bit different every night, influenced by and reacting to everything from the mood of the audience to the electrical currents on stage.
i find it incredibly challenging and sometimes terrifying to be up there alone, but i feel an intense relationship to and response from the audience from that place and i cherish it.
as a solo performer, i feel an alignment with the transportive nature of storytelling tradition. my music is narrative, and it’s subjects are things that are already on everybody’s mind (climate change, refugee crisis, quantum entanglement? k maybe that last one is just me but…) my aim is to create a space where we can reflect on these things together. but i prefer not to use too many words to relate.. once the ideas are contextualized, conjuring images with sounds and melodies feels just as powerful to me and also more accessible in many ways. i don’t have an agenda, certainly not a solution, just a great sense of empathy and desire to be sharing space and experiences.
i believe that having these transporting moments together can be both a balm and a way to receive energy to move forward, to engage.
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 )
“Next up, Jessica Moss, most famously of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, encouraged the crowd to find a place to relax in body and mind as she performed a 20-minute solo violin piece that was inspired by the ocean. A small yet distinguished table lamp positioned on the floor illuminated a veritable Tetris of pedals and effects that she nimbly manipulated with her bare feet, fading loops in and out with her big toe and layering loops of dramatic, processed violin and a light dusting of ethereal vocals. The powerful piece felt majestic yet haunting, serene yet ominous”. (Alan Ranta, Exclaim magazine)