MP3 Loops - Ek! (double CD)
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12 MP3 Songs
JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, WORLD: World Fusion
Loops is a multi-faceted group, based around electric guitar, drum kit and electric bass. The trio is occasionally augmented by other musicians, as occurs on this C.D. and in many of our concerts. Our style has been described as "jazz-rock fusion with an Indian flavour". Here is one reviewer's response to this C.D. "Ek!":
The members of Loops are part of a network of Queensland musicians who share prodigious musical gifts and a general attraction to more demanding areas of music. It might be said that they are fascinated by the elements of music. The outcome is rarely cold and clinical, however. It is more often energizing, exciting, and quite often very beautiful in a fresh, unsentimental way. While their explorations and studies have covered the broad spectrum of music, their virtuosity is perhaps most immediately apparent in the area of rhythmic complexity and precision. That Indian music has come to play a large part in their music making is not surprising.
A degree of preoccupation with the elements of music, or of any particular art, is often seen as a consequence solely of modernism. In fact it is common to most forms aspiring to classicism, almost by definition, or to innovation.
Perspective was very much part of an ethos in Renaissance art. Ways of thwarting the illusion of realistic depth were part of the ethos of modernism. Rules of harmony have been seen as blueprints for spiritual dogma, with certain intervals forbidden, having been given Satanic associations.
One of the most exacting and deeply satisfying examples of this kind of preoccupation can be seen in the art of Mondrian, from which contrasts and parallels can be drawn with the music of Loops. Mondrian rigorously pursued two-dimensionality, so as to separate his art from nature - the better way to express what he saw as spiritual laws lying behind or within nature. The addition of any new element had to be carefully calculated, so as not to introduce depth. White planes, for instance, had to be carefully placed so that they did not recede into a 'ground' behind the colour planes. Each solution carries a charge of aesthetic and intellectual satisfaction. That Mondrian has been appropriated in more than one era by popular fashion - e.g. the dresses of Mary Quant - can be seen as both a send up of such rigour and an acknowledgement that we have learned to enjoy the results.
Loops' music is in direct contrast to this exclusivity, yet in close sympathy with the bracing rigour of a Mondrian. While some compositions have humorous and topical associations, a central impulse is to work out the implications and possibilities of certain rhythmic juxtapositions and displacements, certain harmonic movements and tonal associations and divergences. Bach often displayed similar concerns!
Much of Loops' music has evolved from the general area known as fusion. The term 'jazz rock' has also been applied, but Loops have extended the rhythmic implications to the point where it becomes unavoidably clear that Indian music was as big an influence in this area as either jazz or rock. When they turn their attention to the mainstream of Indian music itself, one finds no slavish imitation but a remarkably apposite and relaxed absorption into the Loops creative field. Few listeners in this global day and age would find "Rules of the Shastra" by guitarist Jamie Clark - with its effortless and accurate singing by Katie Noonan - anything but ravishingly (no pun intended) lyrical and rhythmic. The second melodic idea recalls a theme used by jazz trumpeter Don Cherry in his "Eternal Rhythm" project.
Jonathan Dimond's "LA Rocco Jam" refers back to pre-fusion modern jazz. While there may be elements of parody, and while the form roves beyond the idiom so that it is sometimes more descriptive of modern jazz than it is the thing itself - many of the satisfactions of a modern jazz guitar trio are delivered with exhilarating felicity.
The word "lyrical" has cropped up, but this should not be seen as an incongruity, an irony, or any kind of surprise. All of this music is lyrical in - as I have said - a fresh and unsentimental way.
John Clare, Sydney Morning Herald. August 2001.
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