Written by Brandon George
New York singer-songwriter Elliot Moss’ new single, “Altitude” provides an intense look into the struggle with depression that explores the line between the harrowing moments and the captivating side to the darkness.
“Altitude,” a haunting three and a half minute trance, makes great use of space and silence to create a feeling of weightlessness. The verses are composed of a growing collection of synth pads and a simple electronic bass drum and clap that leave room for Moss’ mellifluous vocals to take center stage. His voice, beginning isolated and then coupled with a reverb-covered double feels like it’s floating, with deft transitions between falsetto and chest voice standing out as a highlight. Even in the choruses, with their crashing guitars and drums added into the mix, Moss’ singing retains an entrancing calm.
It isn’t until the third verse, after a distant saxophone hails an interlude, when Moss comes in with an increasingly panicked refrain of “Don’t look down, don’t look down/I know you wanted, you wanted, you wanted to,” that the emotion simmering during the first half of the song rises and Moss’ voice widens and explodes.
The refrain transforms into a cry of, “It goes away, it goes away/If you want, if you want, if you want it to/But you smile and you stay/Cause you want it, you want it, you want it.” It’s a self-taunting expression. The fervent squealing of the saxophone goads even further as Moss’ lead vocal becomes separated from the chanting, the chaos of the sequence mounting before finally it returns to the hypnotic repetition of the chorus, a reminder of the inevitability of those moments.