Loop is an alternative rock band from South London, that were last active just as I was leaving school. My introduction to the world of Loop was the Peel Sessions album Wolf Flow. So 25 years on has last months new material Array 1 set the world alight or not? This release has had many reviews and was highly anticipated, so I thought I would let you know what I think as a fan that thought that this would never happen.
Right from the start of the opening track Procession the hypnotic repetitive riffs and relentless drumming are straight out of A Gilded Eternity, it is as if nothing has changed except they have cleaned up Robert Hampson’s vocals and have brought them more to the forefront. Now I realise that since Loop disbanded and fractured into different projects in the early nineties no one has really filled the void. Many bands have been influenced by them but none have created the dark intensity that was their trademark.
Aphelion swirls heavily with a sonic psychedelic guitar riff that is drenched in feedback. The vocal effect is very similar to earlier Loop recordings, distorted and echoing.
Drones and music with drones have been getting much reviews in the press. Especially after the latest Muse album which should really be removed under the Trade Description Act as it was called Drones, the track Coma is a shining example of how drones should sound. A sparse far-reaching soundscape, modulating and hypnotic.
Radial is a precis for the rest of the EP. Epically 17 minutes long, that starts with a singular drone builds up to a climax and then recedes back to a drone.
Collision EP was released just after Heaven’s End. This was when Loop were first getting noticed and causing a stir in the indie world in 1988. Collision features the song Thief Of Fire which was originally by The Pop Group and released on their 1979 album Y. Robert Hampson the lead singer’s and group founder member wife is on drums. Bex Hampson who was only referred to as Bex in the credits, has a very raw rough drumming style. This is the style of the EP, unpolished like a raw radio session.
The World in Your Eyes compilation features the Collision EP. Much for the Loop back catalogue has been reissued in the bonus material, which is good for fans who had difficulty collecting the back catalogue, but disappointing for people like me who spent years of their life looking for EPs at Record Fairs.
Loop : Collision EP
Thief of Fire
I am a big fan of both Spacemen 3 and Loop, and I see them totally differently. Loop’s music is very minimalist music with complex layers. It is still very hard sounding with metronomic drums and fuzzy guitars. The Loop can be summed up by Soundhead thumping drums that sound like canons. Wah saturated in reverb that is so raw your ears feel like they are going to bleed. Very hypnotic and dark.
While the work of other late 80s noise terrorists My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3 are celebrated. Loop has been forgotten. Even when the out-of-print albums were re released, not much was said. They had been out of print over a decade. News that they were being released seemed to only circulate around fan based websites.
If you still don’t believe; sit in a darkened room, crack open a bottle of Thunderbird and turn the volume up.
Loop : Heaven’s End
Straight to Your Heart
Too Real to Feel
Fix to Fall
Spinning (Full Version)
Brittle Head Girl
The history of this Loop live bootleg is largely unknown. The quality of the recording is fantastic, and the performance is something else. Before I heard this Wolf Flow was my favourite Loop album, but they seem to crank everything up a bit in this performance. It’s hectic and frantic they just about hold on to it.
Released in 1992, on double-LP and CD, this Italian bootleg was famously limited to 1000 copies. It is a complete concert from 1990, and features many tracks from A Gilded Eternity. The version of From Centre to Wave is a truly beautiful piece of work. Other versions are sonic landscapes, this is a battlefield.
Loop : Untitled (Edizione Limitata di 1000 Copie)
The Nail Will Burn
Got to Get It Over
This is just one hell of a bad trip; a torched blacked out sun where it ends? Such is the deep haunting psychedelia of this album, it could make most gloomy goth anthems quite cheery. Sparse, minimalist and arguably their best album (although I am a firm believer in Wolf Flow as their greatest long player).
Repetitive fuzzy riffs, driven by the lead guitar are apparent throughout, with the exception of A Vision Strain which has the most filthiest distorted wah propelling it.
The extras disc are a collection of alternate mixes, with some of the excellent Peel session tracks from Wolf Flow. The original CD version had; Collision, Crawling Heart. Thief Of Fire /Thief (Motherfucker) and a cover of Can’s Mother Sky on it. So it is debatable which would be the best version of Fade Out. All except Mother Sky can be found on the Collision EP
Loop : Fade Out (Remastered)
This Is Where You End
A Vision Stain
Got To Get It Over
Black Sun (Fade Out Session Feedback)
Torched (Fade Out Session Original Mix)
Got To Get It Over (Fade Out Session Original Mix)
This Is Where You End (House In The Woods Demo)
Pulse (John Peel Session)
This Is Where You End (John Peel Session)
Collision (John Peel Session)
Fade Out Guitar Loops I
Fade Out Guitar Loops II
Fade Out Guitar Loops III
Fade Out Guitar Loops IV
Fade Out Guitar Loops V
Loop were wrongly attached to any scene. Steve Lamacq once said that Ride were, “the House of Love with Chainsaws”. In that case Loop must be like Ride in a war zone. Unfortunately there is no plans as of yet to reissue ‘Wolf Flow’ Peel Sessions, which is my own personal favourite.
There was much banter between Loop and Spacemen 3, but I feel that they were completely different, the only thing they had in common was a love of the work of Suicide.
My first introduction to Loop was Wolf Flow. There has never been a ‘Greatest Hits’ of Loop and this is the closest thing to it. A compilation of the three Peel Sessions recorded between 1987 and 1990. The session recording style is better for Loop. The vocals sound more distinct and there is generally more clarity in the songs. Even though the production has been stripped the atmosphere is still there. Pure Energy in Soundhead with the relentless throb of the drums. From Centre to Wave is sped up and evenmore haunting than the album version. Loops take on Suicide’s Rocket USA is better than the original in my opinion.
Loop : Wolf Flow
Straight to Your Heart
This is Where You End
From Centre to Wave