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Loop, "Fade Out"

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cover image While the debut album from Loop stuck with a traditional use of psychedelia, by their second disc they had refined their own take on the subgenre.  Rather than using just the traditional wah and tremolo guitar effects, they created their own direction in space rock via brittle guitars, abstract studio effects and more avant garde instrumentation.  However, through all of this they still managed to make powerful, speaker damaging rock that demands to be played loudly, and Fade Out is perhaps their most fully realized work.

 

Reactor

Loop

I will never understand why there was the feud between Loop and Spacemen 3.  Other than they both mined their own approach to 1960s psychedelic rock, there was little resemblance in other ways:  Spacemen 3 were more sparse and minimalist, with almost folk underpinnings, while Loop added a bit of Motorhead to their Hawkwind.  The bass driven and angular noise guitar of opener "Black Sun" is much more aggressive and blistering than anything Jason Pierce & Sonic Boom ever put out.

While they still employ a lot of textural elements throughout, most of the songs are yet again driven by strong, melodic lead guitar work, with Hampson's vocals falling deeper and deeper into the mix.  The exception is "A Vision Stain," which the lead melody is buried in wah compared to the rest of the album’s leads.

Loop’s greater focus to harder rock elements is most apparent on tracks like "This Is Where You End" and "Pulse," both of which appear in a more stripped down form on the second disc’s Peel Session tracks.  The album closer "Got To Get It Over" is another example of this:  reverb buried vocals under a steady beat and a repeating guitar sequence that never gets tiring, yet commands loud volumes. 

It is only the long title track that is an overt antecedent to Heaven's End, with its slower pace and heavy tremolo on guitar and vocals that could almost be an outtake from those sessions.  However, with its placement in the middle of the album, it makes for a more relaxed, pensive spot in an otherwise dense and dark album.

Again, the tracks added to the second disc here are mostly alternate mixes that do not differ too drastically from the album takes:  the feedback version of "Black Sun" adds additional guitar feedback loops to the original track: the heavily reverbed stabs make a dark track even more aggressive.  The original mixes of "Torched" and "Got To Get It Over" are also pretty similar to the album takes, just a bit rawer and less polished.  As with Heaven's End, the Peel Session tracks here are just sparser, less layered recordings that actually benefit from the lack of treatment and effects. 

Perhaps most interesting is the five tracks of guitar loops that were used as textural elements on the album, presented here in their original form.  While simplistic, these mostly mournful sounding bits of repetitive guitar noise clearly show that Hampson was thinking more abstractly even with Loop, and experimenting with sounds that would eventually come to fruition as Main.  Just like Heaven's End, the remastering job is excellent, bringing out details that were originally too muffled in the original issues, and the mini-gatefold LP sleeves are very well done. 

My only real gripe with this release is a minor one:  I miss the CD bonus tracks of Collision and their covers of "Thief of Fire" and "Mother Sky" that closed the first pressing of the disc.  However, those are slated for inclusion on the upcoming three disc The World In Your Eyes singles collection, so I just have to be patient.  I first tracked down this album around this time of year 10 years ago, and relistening to it after awhile was one of those warm and fuzzy nostalgic moments.  In the 20 years since its release, it still is a timeless and fascinating listen.

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Last Updated on Saturday, 02 May 2009 00:39  


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