Loop - Array 1 - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Loop - Array 1

by Jeff Penczak Rating:9 Release Date:2015-06-29

In the immortal words of Speedy Keen: “Lock up the streets and houses/ because there’s something in the air.” First Kevin Shields crawls out from the rock he’s been hiding under for 20 years and finally delivers a bloody My Bloody Valentine album, then Bobby Wratten resurfaces after a five-year snooze, picking up where the Trembling Blue Stars left off with the equally fantastic Lightning in a Twilight Hour.

Now, after a quarter of a century mainly making ambient, experimental noises, Robert Hampson has revived his 30-year-old project, Loop, with a half-hour mini-album/EP. I guess good things actually do come to those who wait. But has it been worth it?

At first blush, opener ‘Precession’ sounds like Hampson’s been listening to a lot of hardcore metal, with its pulsating crunch reminding of a cross between Godflesh and Killing Joke. Scarily intriguing.

‘Aphelion’ is closer to what fans might expect (and want) from a Loop reunion. The guitars are still aggressive, but Hampson’s dreamy, druggy delivery aptly captures the thousand-yard-stare of someone left in the cold examining life from the outside looking in (as implied by the track’s title, which refers to the point at which an object in space is furthest from the sun.

‘Coma’ is an electronic maelstrom that approximates the sound electricity might make as it surges through the body. Its Main-esque vibrating pulse ebbs and flows with ominous intent, leaving the listener in a state of suspended animation, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It’s not always successful and may lead to some watch checking, wondering when it’s time to turn the record over, where you will find the sidelong ‘Radial’, 17 minutes of ambient, electronic wows and flutters that starts out as another Main-style track. At times, you’ll think your next-door neighbor is chainsawing down that ugly tree in the backyard, but that’s only the prelude to the motoric Motörhead riffage that follows.

Now we’ve achieved full Loop-osity, phasers on stun until we float gently into hyperspace for a gentle landing on little fluffy clouds. Temporarily satiated, our hearts and minds are intent on the next phase, as Hampson has said he will be delivering new material in three stages.

Part two is due in the fall. Can’t wait to get looped again.

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