Are Loop merely creating muzak for the acid generation, or are they really the mind-blowing sonic insurrectionists that the British music press would have us believe? Are the members of Loop merely louts from Croydon with a penchant for drugs and psychedelia, or are they Aeonian time travellers who have alighted in the present to give us a taste of the future?
Well,judge not, etc. . . . Attimes, Loop can be as threatening as a chainsaw poised above your bathwater. Guitars clamour with a serrated edge. Confusion and anger run neck and neck with confusion of rhythm and melody. The two eventually embrace violently in a demolition-derby dance of death, headed straight for the brink of cathartic mayhem. It clangs, it clatters and, hey kids, it’s hip.
The band, with Robert Hampton on vocals and guitar, formed as a three-piece in 1986 and signed to Head Records, who released two LPs: 1987’s ‘Heaven’s End’ and 1988’s ‘The World in Your Eyes’. After a line-up change and a new label, Chapter 22, they released two singles and another LP, ‘Fade-Out’, last year. They have since signed to Situation Two, which released their current album, ‘A Gilded Eternity’ in January.
‘A Gilded Eternity’ is a seven-song, two-record set. The songs are bloody long (all clock in at over four minutes) and bloody noisy. And, in the end, a bit too much Seventies-style obscure dabbling makes me run for the Gatorade as we all await a live appearance on ‘Alf’, or maybe ‘Friday the 13th Part 68’. It‘s the dull grind ofunhappiness; the sound of someone reliving everything that’s gone wrong and finding it just as bad the second time around. (Tracey Pepper)
Loop play The Venue, Edinburgh on Fri 23 and Glasgow College on Sat24 with special guests World Domination Enterprises.
Spain-the Spain oi llamenco and bulllights and Carmen, its heat and unbridled passion transmitted by foreign authors like Georges Bataille and the inevitable Hemingway — provided an escape route for Marc Almond’s synthpop straitjacket in the mid-1980s. when he released Torment and Toreros, a frothing double album of raw and blistered emotions. Largely unlistenable now, it served as an emotional enema after several nerve-wracking years in the pop charts. What gushed out wasn't pleasant, but, the implication was. he would have gone mad if he hadn‘t found a freer mode of expression than electronic dance music. Siouxsie Sioux and Budgie might have had similar motivations in reviving their holiday group The Creatures, at a time when Siouxsie and The Banshees have stretching behind them a lengthening series of albums and live shows which suggest they have exhausted themselves and were expending their energy in empty, melodramatic gestures. Siouxsie would disagree with that. The reason for taking time off for another Creatures project, she contests, is that The Banshees are in a stronger position than at any time in the last five or six years — though how long before newest member Jon Klein succumbs to the notorious Vanishing Guitarist syndrome? —
and the very first live appearances by
e spin-oft Banshees at all. The Spanish sojourn they
undertook to record Boomerang, the first Creatures communique for six
years, followed the pattern established on the debut, Feast: to wait for a break in Banshees activities, ﬂy to a hotter and more exotic part of the world with a handful ofideas and attempt to capture some of the rawness and substance of the local music and people. It‘s worth noting that on the sleeves of both their debut EP Wild Thing and Boomerang Siouxsie and Budgie are photographed naked. implying that The Creatures are shorn of the Banshees‘ ornate and portentous baggage.
In this they may be ﬂattering themselves. There are some very grating, pointless experiments on Boomerang, that probably satisfy Siouxsie‘s penchant for the exotic, and must have seemed like a good idea in the eerie surroundings ofan
Andalusian ranch festooned with the
stuffed heads of ritually-slaughtered bulls, but come across as dilettantish, half-baked and curiously bloodless in the cold light ofday.
In September, the month Boomerang was released, Siouxise attended a concert by Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares at the Royal Festival Hall — seeking inspiration. perhaps. for the next Creatures project? The unearthly and glacial beauty of Bulgarian folk might be a more fitting subject. (Alastair Mabbott)
The Creatures play at Glasgow Queen Margaret Union on Fri 23.
group won‘t hurt t e '
Sliml- _ Black Magic
Though The Black Velvet Band hail irom Dublin, lead singer, songwriter and guitarist Kieran Kennedy lormed the band in Cork in 1987. Not lorthem a comlortlng backllne oi sequencers- Kennedy is very much at the old school
oi emotionally direct rock, being ‘blown away’ by Rory Gallagher at the age oi 17 and progressing on to John Lennon, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, Hibbing's poet laureate providing vital inspiration on the Black Velvet Band’s lirst LP, ‘When Justice Came’. Available on Elektra Records (the band’s first single was released on U2's Mother Records and cracked the lrish Top 20), ‘When Justice Came' was recorded in Los Angeles with Pete Anderson, who is well known lor his work with Dwight Yoakam and Michelle Shocked. The Black Velvet Band play Queen Margaret Union, Glasgow on Sat 3, The Mucky Duck, Sholts on Sun 4 and support Andy White at The Venue,
'Edinburgh on Mon 5.
I Shankar Nobody Told Me/The Hilliard Ensemble: Perolin (ECM) While Manfred Eicher‘s Munich-based label has become noted for its dedication to high fidelity recording, stylish packaging and the pastel jazz stylings ofthe likes of Metheny and Jarrett. these two offerings demonstrate that the range of its activities is considerably wider. The Shankar album represents Indian classical forms at their most accessible, with the leader‘s violin threaded against vocals and mesmeric percussion to create exciting, expressive music; while measured voices of The Hilliard Ensemble show just how profound the influence of 12th-century sacred choral music has been for the modern minimalists like Reich. interested parties would do well to also check out the CD ECM NewSeries Sampler, which runs the gamut from Jan Garbarck to contemporary Lithuanian master Arvo Part. (Trevor Johnston) I Michael Nyman: The Nyman/Greenaway Soundtracks (Venture) Four LP/CD/cass box, bringing together Nyman's original musiclor The Draughtsman '3 Contract, A Zed And Two Noughts.
Drowning By Numbers and The Cook, The Thief etc, combining to display just what a eherishable talent he is. Drawing on sources in Purcell and Mozart while also filling out the modern structural principles of repetition with the ﬂexible textures ofthe Nyman Band'sowr singular instrumentation the music uses an accretion ofostensibly simple melodic blocks to create a fascinatineg ornate wall of sound. By the time you‘ve worked out which one is your favourite you‘ll realise you‘ve been listening to nothing else for the past week. Go on. treat yourself. (Trevor Johnston)
I The Nivens: Shake (Danceteria) It's a winner. and you‘re left wondering why it took a French label to release it. Produced and engineered by
ROCK 37 JAZZ 39 FOLK 41 CLASSICAL 42
The List 23 February — 8 March 1990 35