How much can intention affect an outcome? No, I am not speaking philosophically, though I’m sure there are plenty of term papers written on the dilemma. Rather, I am referring to the miracle that is LŪP by Lomond Campbell. Obviously the music does not happen spontaneously, but how it behaves is dependent, not upon the accuracy of an instrument and its player, but rather the whims of the machine.
Campbell was commissioned to build a tape looper for King Creosote, in a brief history outlined on his website. The new looping instrument has also been described as a kinetic sculpture due to its engineering. His vision was inspired largely by William Basinski’s The Disintegration Loops, which captured the sounds of old tapes of Basinski’s own music as they decayed during use. Magnets and discs and modular synths all contribute to the decay via LŪP, Campbell’s custom looping machine.
The spirit of music returns to us in the distinct motifs across the album LŪP. Without considering how it was made, one may acknowledge the distribution of energy from track to track. “We Go Slow” starts us off with a good omen and the telegram bassline starts the party in earnest on “Otherly.” Fans of the Arthur King Presents series by Dangerbird will appreciate the organic, inviting rhythms, with quiet crashes of disbelief lurking beneath the feigned triumph on “Fifths.” Comfort accompanies “Sister” toward the end of the album, humming with a calming reassurance.
Perhaps appropriately, one of the most saturated tracks is named after its commissioner. “Creosote” borrows dripping themes from the earlier “Swam,” is the ultimate lazy river tune. But the track eight also benefits from convenient melodies, merging together as if composed on the page before thrown into the LŪP. The beeps and hiccups morph so gradually that they become their own characters in a play within a play.
I am strong enough to admit that part of the beauty of LŪP is its randomness. Were it purposefully written and performed and perfected, some of the appeal would be lost. This says less about artists and everything about art—it’s all in the perception of the viewer, or in this case, listener. And I control this year-end list.