Loop Guru
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Duniya, 7.5/10
Amrita, 7/10
Catalogues Of Desires, 6/10
Loop Bites Dog , 6/10
Slipper: Invisible Movies (2000), 5/10
Slipper: Zoon Sandwich (2002), 5/10
Thaw: Holy Cat (2002), 5.5/10
Bathtime (2003), 5.5/10
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I Loop Guru sono un gruppo multirazziale della Gran Bretagna capitanato da Jamuud (Dave Muddyman) e Salman Gita (Sam Dodson). Si formarono nel 1985 con l'intenzione di reagire al predominio del trio rock (chitarra, basso, batteria) e del synth-pop. Invece degli strumenti di moda, si armarono di tape loops (soprattutto per i ritmi), registrazioni di suoni naturali e di voci umane, e di strumenti esotici. Sovrapponendo i nastri e l'esecuzione dal vivo, i Loop Guru impostarono una ricerca sulla world-music nel mondo dell'alta tecnologia.

Rivelati da tre singoli di tutto rilievo, Mrabet/ The Shrine (Nation, 1992), Paradigm Shuffle/ Hope (Nation, 1993) e Sussan-Tics (Nation, 1994), si sono imposti fra le novità salienti della scena pan-etnica con l'album Duniya (Nation, 1994 - Waveform, 1995).

Incrociando world-music, musica ambientale, jazz e techno, ovvero Jon Hassell, Brian Eno, Weather Report e Moby, i Loop Guru compongono sinfonie per ipnotiche frasi dub, affollate percussioni esotiche, e loop di suoni campionati.
I gorgheggi astratti della cantante iraniana Sussan Deihim nobilitano la sarabanda di Bangdad, con un incitamento ritmico degno di Enya, il balletto incalzante di Sussan 9, con una elaborata armonia di bisbigli eterei che ricordano ancor piu` da vicino Enya, il "treno" techno di Under Influence, con una distesa di vocali oniriche interrotte da fremiti orgasmici e contrappuntate dall'arpa, e la comica fantasia di Aphrodite's Shoe, una sequenza di variazioni dello stesso ritornello per flauto, scacciapensieri e xilofono su una forte pulsazione dub del pianoforte.
Lo spirito del "quarto mondo" di Jon Hassell emerge in The Fine Line Between Passion And Fear e nella jazzata Jungle A, "canzoni" ipnotizzate dai vagiti "equatoriali" dei fiati e dai cicli matematici delle voci.
Ma il duo ha anche in mente di "vendere" questi suoni alle discoteche, e la trascinante orgia percussiva di Shrine Of Sringar lascia intravedere uno sbocco commerciale.
La lunga suite The Third Chamber di oltre venti minuti, ottenuta sovrapponendo rosari asiatici, suoni della natura e languida musica elettronica, e` impostata su un misto di spiritualita` new age e di trance psichedelica.
Tutte le composizioni fanno uso massiccio della tecnologia per allestire puzzle sonori sempre piu` audaci. Un arsenale di strumenti etnici aumenta la suggestione degli arrangiamenti.

Con Life Garden e Transglobal Underground, i Loop Guru sono fra i massimi esponenti della "transglobal dance", al confine fra techno e world-music.

If English is your first language and you could translate this text, please contact me.
Amrita (North South, 1995) riesce ad assimilare in maniera ancor piu` lineare folk slavo, raga e nenie arabe nel contesto di treni techno e sincopi hip-hop. Loop Guru's project reached another peak of baroque creativity with the extremely complex and sophisticated collage of Amrita (North South, 1995), eleven mirages of deafening rhythms, fairy vocals and thick production. Instruments range from bells to harps, tampuras to mellotrons, birds to horses, although their sounds are distorted and mixed until each loses its acoustic properties and becomes just a voice in the crowd.
The goal seems to turn Enigma into a psychedelic and disco experience. Needless to say, where Enigma is relaxing Loop Guru is neurotic. Loop Guru's dance music is always an intense experience, whether feverish and tribal as in Yayli (with U2-esque guitar jangling), thunderous as in Soulus (with waves of medieval droning), dissonant as in Giangyar. Sheikh is a psychedelic raga updated to techno: a propulsive beat injects life into a thick collage of voices and instruments, with sharp, epic trumpets and lamenting female chants soaring over the roaring symphony. This is world folk music arranged the way the Incredible String Band would do it in the 1990s and set to a speedy beat.
The ensemble's main achievement rests in the way they paste together the different sounds. Diwana is a spectacular essay of counterpoint, welding melodic trumpet, mellotron and muezzin-like chanting in one organic flow. Often Again is a bold juxtaposition of tenor singing (that could be out of an eastern-European folk song), mechanical syncopated beat and distorted keyboard melody. The effect is to disintegrate the unit of time and space, to dislocate musical DNA. Loop Guru enjoys throwing sopranos (Sun), tenors (Epic Song) and gregorian choirs (Plane Shift into the mix, as if trying to fuse opera with dance music and world music.
The 13-minute tour de force of Fumi summarizes the main themes of Loop Guru's music (ethnic, gregorian, tribal) within the structure of a minimalist concert at an unusually slow (and almost dub) pace. After so much disco ecstasy, the listener is lulled to sleep by a mystical trance.
Jamuud's mellotron reigns over the most majestic pieces, its lysergic tone working as a call to arms or a lament for the dead or a drill into the subconscious.

Nel frattempo l'ensemble aveva continuato a sperimentare con i nastri. La tecnica di "collage generativi" venne consegnata a tre cassette a tiratura limitata intitolate Catalogue of Desires. Le prime due cassette verranno ristampate come The Fountains Of Paradise (Hypnotic, 1999). Il terzo volume venne pubblicato come Catalogues Of Desires Vol 3 (North Sound, 1996). La musica rinuncia sorprendentemente ai ritmi che li avevano resi celebri, ma non riesce a sostituirli con arrangiamenti elettronici altrettanto creativi. I toni etnici (in gran parte dovuti a campionamenti) sono ancora onnipresenti, ma sono diventati puri stereotipi sonori all'interno di un flusso ambientale di suono organico.

Loop Bites Dog (North South, 1997) e` opera schizofrenica, che tenta di superare i limiti del precedente in due direzioni, da un lato approfondendo l'estasi mistica di Don Cherry (White Light) e Terry Riley (Riley's Ants), dall'altra accentuando il melodismo del techno-funk di Peter Gabriel (Karma Marga). Nascosti nel mix sempre piu` intenso e poliedrico, ci sono anche esperimenti d'alta classe, come la fusione di musica psichedelica e danza gamelan tentata con Out Here.

E` possibile che il tempo annullera` la portata del loro melting pop musicale, tutto sommato una volgarizzazione delle idee di Peter Gabriel e di Enya, ma lascera` intatte le qualita` delle loro canzoni piu` graziose, come Aphrodite's Shoe e Karma Marga.

The Third Chamber (NorthSouth, 1997) comprende cinque movimenti, fra cui quello gia` pubblicato su Duniya, e rappresenta il lato piu` contemplativo della loro arte, al confine fra musica cosmica, musica ambientale e musica etnica.

If English is your first language and you could translate this text, please contact me.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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In 2000 Loop Guru were working on several projects: an album of psychedelic pop tunes, re-inheriting and enhancing the eccentric English pop of the late 1960s; a collection of music concreate and electro-acoustic experimental landscapes; an album of devotional music.

Sam Dodson and Linda Finger's side project Slipper released the album Invisible Movies (Rephlex, 2000), devoted to a deranged form of atmospheric jazz (unfortunately ruined by snippets of conversations). Collaborators include Damned's Rat Scabies, Nidahl Bulbul and Liz Fletcher. It was followed by the EP Earworms (Mechanism, 2002), which better defined the experiment: Sheep is like a dissonant version of Rip Rig & Panic's hyper-active jump blues, Hello is an oneric litany a` la Robert Wyatt, Smokin' is cool jazz for a noir film, Lala Dos injects swampy beat, dissonant instruments and operatic vocals into the same framework, etc. Zoon Sandwich (Mechanism, 2002), Slipper's second full-length, exhibits a calmer, more sophisticated production via increasingly dreamy, sleepy and anemic pop-jazz shuffles such as Feelin' Good, Lull, Narcissus that border on postmodern surgical operations on black music (Blues And Lights, Da Force). The boldest tracks (Klaw, 2 Wah) are mostly "atmospheres" of songs; shadows. Rhythms have become much more inventive, less jazzy and not intrusive at all. Slipper is now an experiment in evolving the pop song towards a more abstract and intimate format.

In the meantime, Sam Dodson and Jym's side project Thaw released Holy Cat (Elsewhen, 2002), an album that fuses sacred vocal music, electronica and tribal rhythm. Adi, for example, is a propulsive trance-inducing track that overlays frantic swing rhythm, loops of heavy-metal guitar, female cantillating getting more and more visceral, and keyboards simulating rhythm'n'blues horns. A softer mood a` la trip-hop pervades No Separation (sensual vocals, smooth breakbeats, fat bass lines, oneiric soundscape) and Simplicity (jazzy crooning over disjointed polyrhythms and sound effects). Jaya is an incursion in primitive futuris (African beats and Brazilian syncopation, jazzy bass, Indian flute, orchestral undercurrents). The most hypnotic song is I Bow Down, which fuses the pounding beat of techno, the vocal repetition of Buddhist liturgy, and the electronic flourishes of Moroder's disco-music. Closer The Universal World Prayer is a straightforward song that employs neoclassical plucking and spacey electronics over an upbeat rhythm, to seal the album with a spiritual message. Unfortunately the duo expands the worst ideas and barely sketches the best ones.

Bathtime (Hypnotic, 2003), Loop Guru's first album in five years, displays the usual elegance (and dexterity at studio devices). The ethnic trance dub and/or ethereal pop of Today, Spring Promenade Sentimentale and Marble One is balanced by the two eight-minute fantasias, the Indian-sounding Devotion No.1 and the dancefloor-oriented Devotion No.4, and by the two numbers that leave the reassuring quiet of Loop Guru's traditional style, the nervous and complex Truffaut's Hat Bathtime.

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