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A Magazine for Sheffield


Before playing anything by the sonic deviant and electronica master Loops Haunt, it's crucial to follow two strict imperatives: listen loud, listen carefully.

His new 7-track EP Zenith is quite a strange number and presents a significant stylistic shift from his previous releases. Impact Omnihammer and Rubber Sun Grenade, both cut in 2010, are inventive but clearly rooted in the dubstep scene, while the 2011 release Ark had a much more experimental edge that was deeply aggressive. Zenith is different.

A blend of avant-garde weirdness and ferociously gorgeous textural electronica, it almost plays like the product of a 21st century Igor Stravinsky. 'Fathom', 'dltfaypily' and 'Hike' are constructed from twisted synthetic chord patterns that seem to pay a weird homage to impressionistic harmonic movements from the early 1920s. These are entwined with strange timbres and scattered percussive patterns to create vivid experimental landscapes. Although technically impressive and deeply atmospheric, these tracks lack any cohesive drive and development in the conventional sense and might alienate listeners looking for an easier ride.

But the title track delivers where the avant-garde material fails. Clearly the centerpiece of the release, 'Zenith' works a set of skillfully arranged synths and instruments over the top of some slick percussive groundwork. Characterised by waves of extreme vibrato, the track has the feel of a retro science fiction score; in no way a detrimental statement, because it sounds like a beautiful score. It's an expertly produced and perfectly stylized electronic track that showcases some extreme compositional skill and innovation within the genre.

Finally, the EP contains one more absolute gem - sixth track 'Heal' is excellent. Built around a broken rhythmic pattern with a lethal killer swing, it is a roaring sea of gorgeous sounds and warped audio synthesis. Imagine Boards of Canada and Vaetxh have exchanged sonic genomes and you'll get an idea of the sound. 'Heal' is the best track out of an excellent bunch.

Overall, Loops Haunt has produced a truly inventive release with a beautiful aesthetic. His production skills are seriously some of the best in the genre and if you persevere with the more abstract moments and embrace the weirdness you'll be rewarded.

Loops Haunt - ZENITH (Mini Mix) by Black Acre Records