A Change In Diet
Out 1/17/20 (Grand Jury)
Elliot Moss’ new album A Change In Diet represents a shift, a dividing line separating nearly everything he once knew from his future. The album captures a period of upheaval that altered Moss’ habits, relationships, and even his songwriting. Across the 11 songs, he methodically details the nature of change and the ways it can be liberating, discomforting, and often essential. “A change in diet is one of the first things that any self-help resource or therapist will recommend to you,” he explains. “The title is almost a joke because it feels like a crazy oversimplification of your problem. But at the same time it’s not wrong. It’s rarely one singular change that needs to be made, it is many incremental changes. And everything contributes.”
The New York-bred multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and producer first captured interest with his brand of dense, thoughtful electronic music on 2015’s Highspeeds and 2017’s Boomerang. The albums were icy at times, often shrouded in abstraction, but the path to A Change In Diet led Moss’ art into compellingly vulnerable new territory. Following the end of a decade-long romantic relationship and a long struggle with depression, he turned to songwriting to find catharsis. “It can be easy to fall into old comfort zones. I wanted to write music that was more real. Music that made me nervous to play. If you’re scared of what you’re doing, it’s a good thing...you’re growing,” Moss says.
This approach led to a more raw and uninhibited sound than his previous work, each song awash with vivid imagery and self-reflection. Moss uses the motif of “bending a body into shapes” as a conceptual launching pad throughout the album, examining our willingness to make concessions in order to fit in or maintain certain status quos within our lives—even if it’s damaging in the long run. “These songs are about acknowledging the sharp pains and discomfort, rather than making excuses or distracting ourselves. The kind of mental gymnastics that are required to meet the expectations others have for you, and you may have for yourself, can become too tiring to keep up,” he explains. “I wanted the record’s sound to reflect the same honesty that I’ve been using with myself. I made the decision to avoid hiding behind echoes and effects this time, relying on the instrumentals so heavily.”
As a result, A Change In Diet is a brave, inward-looking opus filled with sublimely simple textures, spartan beats, and poignant songwriting. “Barricade,” a song about the emotional stranglehold of obsessive relationships, features a steady drone that Moss likens to the sensation of falling, while its chorus suggests that boundaries are sometimes the only way to avoid feeling trapped. “Silver + Gold” and the album’s spiritual centerpiece “Bodyintoshapes” are powerful showcases of Moss’ newly incisive wordplay. And while “July 4” details the ways we often run and hide from our pain, the act of writing these songs was anything but a retreat. “This is the first record where I’ve truly avoided compromise,” Moss explains. “I’ve said things exactly the way I wanted to, and didn’t really have the confidence to do that until now. This record was born out of embracing that fear of honesty and pushing past it.”
With A Change In Diet, Moss begins a new journey, powered by a willingness to share his soul unadorned.