Locals: Psych-rock trio Mosses keeps right on rolling

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

In spite of its name, Mosses doesn't linger anywhere long enough to sprout vegetation.

The improvisational psych-rock collective, which currently consists of Ryan Jewell, EveLenker and Troy Kunkler, all of whom chip in on various instruments, has been in constant motion since Jewell first conceived the band as a solo project in 2012. In the years since, the group's sound, along with its lineup, has steadily evolved, flirting with everything from experimental tape loops informed by the works of minimalist composer Terry Riley to hazy psychedelic folk burners that linger like so much incense smoke.

It's a restlessness that spills into the trio's latest,Ouroboros, which was largely recorded in a day and piles on shaggy-dog rockers ("Emaho!"), rhythmic numbers that evoke Buddhist ceremonies ("Vasubandhu") and more ambient experimentations like "Gradient Zones (For Steve Guttenberg)," a two-part suite that melds elements of free-jazz with alien electronics.

At times, the music is free and loose, while other songs walk a more linear path, a byproduct, Jewell said, of an internal tug-of-war he's struggled with most of his creative life.

"At one point I wanted to be a studio session musician as a drummer, and that was all about really finely detailed precision, and really being able to shade every note exactly the way you want it," said Jewell, who joins his Mosses bandmates for a concert at the Summit on Saturday, Dec. 12. "Then there's this other part of me that's into noise and free-jazz and punk - this open space where anything can happen. So it's finding a balance between those two things, and it drives me crazy."

In the past, Jewell, a drummer by trade (he started playing guitar just two years ago while recovering from heart surgery), has allowed each of these halves to exist independently, moving between exploratory, freeform gigs and comparatively traditional band structures. With Mosses, however, the musician can finally allow both sides to exist under the same banner - a trend that can be seen in everything from its shape-shifting sound to its myriad takes on the recording process. WhileOuroboros was largely tracked in a day, for example, the trio has invested more than a year, off and on, writing and recording a second, still-unnamed album.

"I've played in a bunch of bands and done my own experimental music, and it's always kind of been one or the other," he said. "With this band we haven't set any rules."

The Summit

9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12

2216 Summit St., Campus

ALSO PLAYING: EYE, Nukkehammer