Cohesive and Relentless
Although it is not clear what the status of the band is, Array 1, Loop’s new EP, is nothing if not cohesive. Loop’s sound is very unique, with vocalist Robert Hampson at the center of it. Regardless of the many effects placed on his voice throughout the EP, Array 1 stays true to Hampson’s Kasabian-esque, drawling baritone. With that voice, the churning riffs and more ethereal, sonic sounds, Array 1 is varied and very complete.
Array 1 features four tracks of substantial length. “Precession” is the first and probably the most grating. With a repetitive riff that pummels the listener into submission and vocals that seem to roll over it, this track is hard to get through. Hampson sounds incredibly lazy, but the music is like a riptide — it drags you under. However, “Precession” serves as a great introduction and really sets the stage for the second song, “Aphelion.”
“Aphelion” is where Loop begins to shine. The track features numerous effects, all timed to shift the listener’s mood along with the song. Vocals are crisper in this track, and the music is much, much more interesting than in the previous song. In “Aphelion,” Loop creates a sonic soundscape, layering their grinding, boiling music over more psychedelic sounds; the track eventually fades to a static-y synth.
“Coma,” feels more like an extension of “Aphelion” than a new piece of music. If it were in the same key and there were no separation between them, it would simply be a marathon of a song. However, “Coma” features simple sounds: synths, some static and an otherworldly vibe that stems from what sounds like an electric organ. This song, though it is more like an extended outro, keeps the fourth track from coming as much of a surprise. It is necessary to change it up after such a relaxing piece of music, and “Radial,” the last song on the record, does just that.
“Radial” is a 17-minute marathon that creates an entire world of sound. Listening to it is immersing oneself in sorrow, anxiety, fear and a whole host of other emotions. Sounds produced by machinery — not the kind used for music — feature heavily on this track, as does a high-pitched synth. Is it a band-saw or part of the music? Is it both? When the beat begins, it’s a relief. However, one quickly realizes the brutality of it, and when you do, you hold your breath again. The vocals in “Radial”are mostly echoes. It does not need much more than the intense soundscape; anything else, and a listener would be overwhelmed. The end of the track is simply haunting.
Array 1, though tough to get into, is well worth the listen. Its last track is a musical adventure, if a terrifying one, and to understand it, one must listen through the rest of the EP.