LOOP GURU RELEASE NEW ALBUM! AVAILABLE HERE SOON.
"Elderberry Shiftglass" Loop Guru's homage to 1966 in 2006.
Yes it's psychedelic!!!
Loop Guru have had six NME or Melody Maker singles of the week. Have recorded six sessions for the sadly deceased John Peel. They have remixed for the likes of Mickey Hart, (of Grateful Dead) Jean Michel Jarre, Pop Will Eat Itself, Youth, Banco De Gaia and many more. Two tracks have appeared in the film 'Entrapment' - co starring some of Sam's faves!! This is the latest album. Loop Guru are back, and back with a loofah!
Bathtime With Loop Guru
Producers: Jamuud and Saam
When the instrumental credits listed in the cd booklet include "quantum physics," "insect manipulation," and "luminous wetlook," you know you're in for an unusual listening experience. But the abnormal is de rigueur for British ethno-techno group Loop Guru, Bathtime With Loop Guru follows the sample happy grooves and stolen themes of previous outings. The band, now reduced to a duo of Jamuud and Saam (aka Dave Muddyman and Sam Dodson, respectively), freely samples sitars and mellotrons, Kraftwork rhythms and gamelan cycles-all collaged into delirious, dub trippy grooves, Loop Guru really would have been happy as a 60's psychedelic band, hanging out between Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd, but forged a few years too late. Yet it has adapted to the technology and tone of the day, mixing sly humor into its most chilled and sensual album to date.-John Dilliberto
Latest offering from post-rave ethnological adventurers
It's typical of their cheery nature but Bathtime With Loop Guru is a bit of a debilitatingly flip title. Don't be put off. This ranks up there with their best work. Beneath their mock- Hare Krishna trappings and big cyclical rhythms, LG are a scholarly duo who's vast, eclectic musical knowledge, ranging from Gamelan to avant-garde, lends the LP a wealth of nuances and citrus twists.
From the samples of Edgar Varese's Poeme Electronique on "Today" to the brass band strains of "Spring", this is a fine reminder that Loop Guru are still around and still in their prime.
David Stubbs - Uncut Magazine. ****
Feature taken from NME, 12 February 1994 - Words: Sam Steele
LOOP GURU are awkward bastards with attitude problems: the kind of misfits who play 25 minutes worth of Vaughan Williams, Stockhausen and Terry Riley in unison over dance beats and call it 'God's Terminant Tutu'.
Unlike most musicians who have been together for ten years, Jamuud and Salman Gita (real identities are guarded: "It's not an ego rock-ethic thing, we just love the faceless ambience of dance music") never know what key they are playing in, and are as likely to squash 17 and a half beats into a bar as four. Add to this their penchant for Arabic quarter-tones and whirling rhythms that would make a dervish dizzy, and Loop Guru end up sounding like a trip through the seven wonders of the world with Alex Paterson as your tour-guide and Andy Weatherall in the driving seat.
The man known as Jamuud sips masala tea and nods wisely. "I always call our music interior landscape gardening," he muses. "I got so bored with the sounds and textures of western music because they're all basically the same. African and Asian music has a richness in it that's really exciting. Western music is so sterile in comparison... it's like ant fodder."
Jamuud, something of an expert on North African music, began his percussion training on the "kitchen gamelan" of tea trays and saucepan lids. At the same time, Salman was filling his bass with screwdrivers and spanners and 'unlearning' how to play it.
After the early kitchen experiments, they began recording their rhythmic excursions on rows of borrowed tape-recorders, creating loops with bits of Sellotape and making tapes for friends. They then came across some cheap samplers - and suddenly all the tape loops began to fit.
"Whatever we want, whenever we want it, all we have to do now is go out and nick it," laughs Jamuud. "Our music is all about having fun and taking risks."
Eighteen months ago, the eccentric gurus put out their first 12-inch on Nation Records. The wailing mantras of 'Mrabet/The Shrine' were soon followed by the bone-bouncing, floor-filling beats of 'Paradigm Shuffle', but these are only the tips of their exotic iceberg. "We've got a back catalogue of about 700 pieces," says Jamuud. "That's 200 hours on DAT."
"We're slipping them out," adds Salman, referring to 24 dreamily ambient tracks on a mail-order only cassette entitled 'Catalogue Of Desires'. It's very different from the kinetic craziness of the records, and both of them are different again from their mind-blowing live performances.
"There's no way the second Loop Guru album will sound anything like the first," predicts Salman, referring to a long-playing debut that's set to be unleashed at the end of March. "People might expect more of the same but you won't really get that with Loop Guru. It's more about the spirit of the music. We want to bring people's spirits up. Most rock music is a bit of a dirge; the rhythms just plod, but we want to make a mixture of passion and joy within our music with several focal points rather than a single vocal line."
Forthcoming single 'Sus-San-Tics' has more than a few focal points. After 24 hours in a studio, Salman and Jamuud came away with 27 completely different versions, 19 of which they modestly describe as "brilliant". They decided to release ten, which have only one common thread - the haunting vocals of Iranian-born singer Sussan.
This refusal to conform to anything - even the usual format of single releases - is the essence of Loop Guru. They don't want to be fashionable, they don't want to make music that sounds like anything you've ever heard before, and they happily admit to being awkward bastards.
"Weeell," corrects Jamuud, "passionate and joyous awkward bastards."
LOOPING DE LOOP
Feature taken from ON magazine, April 1994 - Words: Pete Lawrence
Loop Guru are possibly the most important development yet for world music. Pete Lawrence met up with Salman Gita to discuss the new album, copyright liberation and the dilemmas of going overground.
PL: We've tended to shy away from 'personality' interviews to a large extent as they seem to reinforce a sort-of rock 'n' roll attitude represented by the music press and the careering of the majors.
SG: Yes. One of the things that we do is that we actually change our names from record to record. It's definitely a question of getting away from the rock ethic and this massive ago dreadfulness. We rarely use the same line-up each time and we've never done two consecutive gigs with the same line-up. The whole thing about dance culture is that there are all these people just bunging out white labels and nobody knows who the fuck they are, and that's what makes it so exciting. It's just music for fuck's sake. There's no personality thing... I don't want someone to go and buy the next Loop Guru record just because they bought the first one. Too many people involved in the personality thing which started with the Beatles. I don't understand the way the major labels work. To me, it's an artistic thing. I find it very difficult to think that you can have music as a business, although people obviously have to make a living. The people who do it successfully are the enthusiasts. A lot of bands lose it completely when they sign to a major label as they become formatted and formularised, and they have to because they want to keep their day job as a musician, and repeat their last success.
PL: Does Loop Guru have a grand strategy?
SG: No - none whatsoever. We can't have a strategy because we don't know what we're going to write next. The way we write is that Jamuud and myself get to work on a sample which I've usually taken to him and then we start the process of looking for things that go with it. More often that not, the original sample gets taken out cos it's not working with the things we find. But the rest of it's grooving and it evolves. We just guide the music to write itself. We'll have ideas but we're always thwarted. Always!
PL: I've heard that you have around 200 hours worth of music on DAT?
SG: Yes, most of the double album is what we're doing now, with the exception of one track which is six years old. The back catalogue will probably be sifted out as a series of cassettes. On each of the Peel sessions, we've put in an older track and no-one said anything. Six years ago, there were quite a few things we just couldn't do technically, like running two breakbeats together, and using eight cassette machines as a keyboard. We still wrote the entire album on one Akai 950 sampler, which has raised a few eyebrows, but it just means you have to be economical. In eight track studios, you have to think that much harder about what you're doing.
PL: How important were Brian Eno's choice cards in the studio process?
SG: They're something we've grown up with, really. In the mid 70s, just about the only albums of interest were those coming out on Discreet, apart from some avant garde jazz or Faust or Can. Eno was the one great white hope and we'd heard about the cards. When I first met Jamuud, who is actually called Dave, he had made himself a set. If we are ever sitting in the studio stuck, we often do it for fun. It's just a way of taking yourself outside the situation you're in. Any random card can instruct you to 'reverse it', 'do what your best friend would do' or 'be as minimal as possible.' It's refreshing to have an outside catalyst. After two days in the studio, your brain isn't creating at all any more and it's good to just get a gentle nudge. I met him once at a Roger Eno gig around '88. He's a thoroughly charming gentleman. We'd just finished what we'd still term 'our first LP', which is sitting around gathering hiss, because of the amount of cassette machines we were running live. He asked us to send it to EG but I don't know if he ever received it.
PL: Which other musicians or events would you class as pre-Loop Guru influences?
SG: Growing up in London in the 60s as a kid, watching all these amazing things happening. Finding Captain Beefheart and hearing 'Trout Mask Replica' for the first time - a massive eye-opener, Can - especially 'Tago Mago' which a friend brought over and slapped on my dansette, and Soft Machine - up to the fifth or sixth before they drifted off into noodlyness. Punk? I was sort of there, doing things, chewing guitars and shouting at people, but the real eye-opener was seeing The Pop Group - this bunch of people who were younger than me playing the music that I wanted to hear. At the time I was listening to Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Stockhausen, and it was probably seeing This Heat and The Pop Group that actually changed the area I've operated in. Since then, I've been slowly developing to the stage we've got to now. When I met Dave, I was listening to a lot of avant garde, Indian and Balinese music and he was listening more to Iranian and Moroccan music, and we were introduced by Alex Kasiek from Transglobal Underground who came up to me at a gig and said "I know someone who really wants to meet you - he thinks you're a genius" and I thought "What?" and we found we just meshed together. I've got all these crazy ideas, and he just slaps me about a bit and says "no, you can't do that". We're like quality control for each other.
PL: How did you first hear Sussan Deihim (vocalist on the Sus-San-Tics single)?
SG: Aki from Nation Records brought a tape back from New York and said "Perhaps you'd like to listen to this?" and we ran home and within three hours had written the basis of the single. The tape was already heavily treated and we just sampled it up and blended it in. We didn't meet her until we were in the studio doing the album. She arrived at Heathrow and came straight over and was in front of a microphone within an hour, so we did a completely new version which is on the album. We like to do things first or second take. If you can't manage that, you completely lose the energy, particularly with sequenced music. There are loads of bass mistakes on the album, but I would rather that than have it all formularised. It took four days to put on tape and four days to mix, although a lot of the work had been done beforehand. We like to run from digital to analogue and back again, because it alters the quality. It gets a bit of valve in there and prevents things becoming too clinical. It's like the punk energy thing - if the Sex Pistols 'Anarchy In The UK' had taken a month to record, it wouldn't have been the same. The movement that's going on at the moment seems to be what punk was like with a lot of ideas of change going on.
PL: Would you like to hear other people remixing your work?
SG: Because of the way we operate, there seems to be little point when we come out of the studio with 14 hours worth of music, but there are certain people - Andy Weatherall, Adrian Sherwood... maybe Alex Patterson... just to find out if there's another angle which we haven't touched on yet. The whole remix thing can become formularised. A single will sell so many copies and then the record company bring out someone else's mix. It becomes more like business rather than revolutionary art form.
PL: The 'movement' that you say is going on now... how do Loop Guru stand on this one?
SG: People are calling it 'global techno' or whatever. Every time someone comes up with a title, it's wrong. It seems to be a movement of like-minded people who've probably been listening to similar sorts of things and they've got the same sorts of ideas, but each person within the movement is doing something completely different. It's like, there's us and there's Seefeel and there's Aphex Twin, there's Transglobal Underground and there's Fun-Da-mental. Sure, there are elements that are the same, but really we're all completely different. Like with Toby (Banco de Gaia) - we can sit down and have a wonderful conversation for an hour, but actually his music is quite different from ours. But there's a feeling in the air of something going on. I like the fact that people can't pin it down. We'll have to wait and see - I think it will be pretty soon.
PL: Alongside this, there seems to be the rise of World Music, 1994-style after the backlash.
SG: Yeah, it did have a backlash mainly because the wrong people were taking it over. People like Sterns - I don't want to put them down because a lot of the stuff they were doing was good - but they tended to take African music and bung it in a studio in Paris or London and it became clinical and sterile and something else altogether. The best Moroccan music is the stuff that I've heard on cassette, probably recorded on a cassette machine, and it's wonderful! I like to think that people are going to look at our little lists on the back of records and maybe go back to the source material. We're not actually stealing it because it's still there. We're recycling it and collaging it... it's like the Dadaists 'found' art. It can be just one sound out of a ten minute piece of music, but they didn't think of using it that way. Ultimately we'd like to originate our own vocal samples, but we just can't afford a Bulgarian vocal troupe! I see the sampler as the new tool to get any sound you want - providing you don't get nicked. If you want to have Vaughan Williams or Moroccan drummers, then why not. When you sample something rich and spiritual, the energy is quite vital to us. We're sampling sounds we love ultimately - it's not a case of just latching onto something. Sampling seems to be the ultimate artistic development, until they work out a way of plugging directly from your brain to the DAT tape.
PL: So it's safe to assume that you're in favour of 'copyright liberation'?
SG: I do feel that if you're taking from Baka pygmies and they want a fridge, then maybe they should get their fridge. One also wonders how much the West is guilty of altering other people's societies by giving them wealth, but all you're doing is nicking from them anyway, whether it's coffee beans or music. It's a difficult question. Everything we're doing is nicked but we're doing it with our own little style. I can see us being sued quite heavily with this album.
PL: You have some quite original sounds on this album.
SG: Yes. The 'kitchen gamelan' incorporates found metal from skips, dustbin lids. We invent our own instruments using the sampler. It's so easy to get stuck in a situation where you're just following in someone else's footsteps - I can't see the point. It's like the so called 'new wave' - how can this be revolutionary if you're copying something else? I play sitar and I'm really crap at it, but I play it in a way that only I can play a sitar. We had a kora, which made the whole thing sound like 'outside' music and we have half a Japanese gamelan orchestra, but it's in storage at the moment as we were both homeless for about three months. Jamuud has been to Gambia, Senegal, Turkey and Morocco. I've done much less global hopping than Dave. If it's music played with spirit and heart I like it. If it's done for the money, it's music for the bin.
PL: What are you looking for from music?
SG: I hate the fact that The Moody Blues used that album title 'In Search Of The Lost Chord'. I do feel that for the last fifteen years of my life I've been looking for the ultimate piece of music. What I'd really like to do is create that piece of music. A couple of bits on the album come close. I suppose it's total enlightenment through music that I'm after. The problem is, you can plough through music and be a complete music junkie but you're never exactly sure what you're looking for. We've gone down this road since we decided we couldn't listen to enough music at the same time. We've got our own series of tapes called 'Catalogue Of Desires' - we've just finished volume two, and we've got two DATs and CD and five cassette machines all going through the mixing desk - a sort of mammoth DJ set.
PL: Do you see clubs such as Whirl-Y-Gig as the ideal context for your live work?
SG: I don't know really. It seems to me that's one of those places where you get that spiritual feeling. Sometimes, Monkey Pilot (the DJ) will play something and everyone will just get a feeling of joy and that buzz. It also happened at The Venue in Oxford recently. That was the first gig we've done in a year without a parachute - it's become a cliché. The idea has gone everywhere after starting at Whirl-Y-Gig. It's a question of where he's going to take it next.
PL: Things are getting very spiritual out there with Aphex, Biosphere, Leiner and shortly yourselves in the Indie charts.
SG: I like the idea of the new music being the new church because the old music is completely fucked. Yes, it seems that even the Indie charts are finally acknowledging the death of guitar grunge. A writer from NME came to interview us recently and at the end said: "But this is still hippy shit, isn't it?" It looks like things are changing fast, but I hate the idea of being overground. To me, all the interesting music that I've ever heard has been coming from the underground. Because of this English attitude problem that I've had, I've probably missed out on some good music. We're going on an HMV ad next month in a glossy rock mag. I almost wanted to say no, but maybe we can sell some records. It worries me that some people might think we're an overground band, but Banco are on it and Deep Forest were on it recently, so maybe it's OK.
Feature taken from MELODY MAKER, 29 October 1994 - Words: David Stubbs
You want pan-cultural pop that runs the gamut of styles from reggae to raga to raga to rock? Then you need LOOP GURU, who join David Stubbs in a curry house as he embarks on a reverse alphabetical journey through the Looposphere.
SO here's the deal. I'm in the Ravi Shankar restaurant with Sam and Dave, the minds behind Loop Guru, whose gentle, colossal sounds straddle all styles and genres, from reggae to Gregorian, from dub to raga, from ambient to rock, from avant-electronics to world music, from African to voix Bulgares, all over a shifting, homemade backbeat. It's the music of the spheres. And they're about to take me on a backwards odyssey through the LOOP GURUNIVERSE...
Z is for ZAREHMA: former Loop Guru vocalist and, it seems, a somewhat eccentric, Gothic figure.
Sam: "She used to hang upside down like a bat before gigs."
Sam: "No, we're exaggerating. But she was very strange, very Transylvanian. She made these odd, guttural noises and she'd stare at you in a funny way. But we were very lucky to have met you and worked with you, Zarehma. Honestly. Please don't curse us!"
Y is for YIN and YANG: "The principle that opposites attract to form a whole." Go directly to H.
X: There is no X. But there is, the symbol of infinity. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, with Loop Guru there really ARE no limits. On one track on their 'Catalogue Of Desires' tape, they sample avant-garde composer Stockhausen AND the lingering chimes of Javanese Court music simultaneously. Now that's what I call music.
W is for WISDOM: Socrates said that the more you know, the less you know. He was right. Maybe...
Dave: "That's one of the truths of the Guruniverse. The older you get, the vaster everything comes, the less sense it makes." Hence the vast, amorphous, open-ended exercise in cultural relativism that is Loop Guru's soundscape.
V is for VISION: "Our vision is the Loop Guruniverse," says Dave. "It's a collective feeling we have in the band. But the Guruniverse changes every week. A week from tomorrow, we'd have a totally different alphabet."
U is for UNITED: "That's the way the world should be," says Loop Guru. "We suppose so, anyway."
I suppose so, too. Kids, we should all be united.
Except Sham 69. They should split.
T is for TIME: Sam: "No one in Loop Guru has any concept of this. But, then again, it is only a concept. Especially not Mad Jym, our percussionist. The only gig he ever turned up on time was in Cambridge. And then he had to drive straight back to London because he'd left his tablas back in Camberwell."
S is for SPEECHLESS: The 'third mind' who is always credited on Loop Guru's album sleeves. "You'd be amazed, when we're working in the studio, the different random things we throw in together, how often it doesn't actually sound a mess. That's not us, that's Mr Speechless, working on our side."
R is for RELIGION: Loop Guru are against.
Do you believe in life after death?
Sam: "We'll wait and see. But we certainly believe in infinity. It's not a concept, it exists. It has to. And trying to wrap your head around it will drive you insane."
Q is for QUESTION: And the question is, who are Loop Guru? Some interviewers have gone away disappointed that they're not young, Asian firebrands but old, white post-punk buff(er)s. Does that matter? Not to me. But does it matter to them that they're forced to dissolve their identity in the vast, cheerful, chaotic sonic Guruniverse, a tiny speck on your own landscape?
Sam: "Or maybe you ARE the universe? Each one of us becomes the universe."
How are you doing?
"We're working on it."
P is for PASSION: "If it's not done with fire and fervour, it's ant fodder," says Sam. I do hate the word 'passion' though. It reminds me of mid-Eighties soul boys clenching their fists at Style Council gigs. The word has a certain belligerent clenchedness, very un-Loop Guru, surely?
Dave: "That's only because you're saying it with a clenched expression. We're talking about creative passion, not going to war."
O is for OBSESSION: Loop Guru are ravenous culture vultures, easily bored. "I'm obsessed," says Sam. "I am physically incapable of walking past a record shop. And if we're not buying it or reading about it, we're doing it!"
N is for NATACHA ATLAS: Her muezzin wails graced 'Hope', an early Guru offering, and her contributions are endlessly recycled and reincarnated through their ever-shifting oeuvre.
M is for MAD JYM: Loop Guru's percussionist, who builds his own, vast 'percussion monsters' from found objects.
Sam: "He comes across as being the craziest person you ever met but, once you get to know him, you realise it's the rest of us who are mad."
L is for LYRICS: Loop Guru don't use them.
"Lyrics are open to too many wrong interpretations," reckons Sam.
Dave: "Our message comes through in other ways than ramming it down peoples' throats."
Sam: "Also we're on so many charity albums this year - Amnesty International, CJB and something else which escapes me for the moment but was certainly dead right on! So we're trying to practice, if not actually preach."
K is for KIPPERS: Sam doesn't eat them. He's a vegetarian. Finding a pig's nipple on a pork scratching several years ago can do that to you.
J is for JIM: "We have two Jims in the band, our soundman's called Jim and our manager's called James," groans Jim. What can this mean?
I is for IDEALISM: "People get put down for this all the time. But I'd rather have my head in the clouds than in a bucket," sayeth Sam.
H is for HEADBUTT: Heavy as fuck neo-arsequakers. Loop Guru have an ongoing project with them. "Headbutt are five bass players, three drummers and a man who shouts a lot. And it actually works. We've done a couple of gigs together and we're doing more."
G is for GIGGLING: "We do giggle, just at the magic when you've got five tape recorders whirring at once, and when it all actually comes together, we're so awestruck we just... giggle." Like The Orb, Loop Guru are puckish not po-faced, pre-empting jeers of Yes-type cosmic airs and graces with their mischievous air. Pretentiousness is fun, kids!
F is for FISH: See M. "Mad Jym thinks he's a fish," Sam informs me, matter-of-factly. "We think he's a mammal, so he must be a dolphin. It's a problem going through New York customs with a man who thinks he's a fish. Mad Jym used to be a steward at big pop concerts at Wembley, only he's so small and frail that no one took any notice him. So he just used to stand at the bottom of the stairs and shout, 'Mind the lobsters!' Then people noticed him. That's why he doesn't eat fish. He considers it cannibalism."
Also, consider this. Sam & Dave = Salmon Dave.
What can this mean?
E is for EEP: Dave's impromptu description of their last two 'singles', both 40 minutes long. This month alone, they're releasing FOUR HOURS worth of material. And not a second is wasted.
D is for DUNIYA: Loop Guru's last album. "Just an expression of that moment in time."
C is for CRAZY SHAMEN: "That's what we are, crazy, curry-eating Shamen." If you are what you eat, Loop Guru would be a masala dhosa.
B is for BULBUL: Nidahl Bulbul, Loop Guru's new singer. Bulbul is the Turkish for 'nightingale'. "Her attitude's the same as us. She has a pint of lager and lets rip."
A is for ANARCHY: Also for altruism.
"The idea that people can think for themselves, not be governed by grey men in suits who know nothing. That people can co-operate and work for the good of the whole. Everyone has a bad idea of anarchy, associates it with violence and nihilism. It's simply the idea of everybody thinking for themselves. Ever noticed how the traffic runs more smoothly when the lights aren't working?"
Loop Guru "Bathtime with Loop Guru"
This is quaint, exquisitely crafted, world-infused electronica from English crusties Jamuud and Salman Gita on their first studio album in half a decade. Recorded at the Shrine, somewhere between Muddy Wellington in North London, It's less exuberant, and more introspective than their classic 1996 release Amrita.
(Message from Loop Guru. 'Where does that crusty thing come from?')
Loop Guru "Bathtime with Loop Guru"
Fronted by main members and songwriters Salman Gita and Jamuud Loop Guru are an ambient/world-music collective that has been releasing albums for well over a decade now. On Bathtime With, Salman Gita and Jamuud prove fully to be guru's of the art of sampling while overlaying Loops from widely different genres of music, distorting and combining them with a seemingly effortless ease. Of the nine tracks here, Truffaut's Hat and the title track are the most prominent. Overall, Bathtime Loop Guru is closer in spirit to Brian Eno than to that of the dance floor, and is all the richer for it
Bathtime with Loop Guru
This is the first new material in five yaers from electronica veterans Loop Guru. As the title suggests, this is a relaxing album of slow-groove beats that would enhance a re soak in the tub. This serene feeling is enhanced by the tranquil sound of horns performing understated and simple melodies answered by synthesizer. As such this album marks a conclusion of a trilogy ambient atmospherica from the group. The album is also exotica, incorporating ethnic themes, especialy the eastern and Asian Indian. The sum total is a warm and bubbling medium of trance electronica to soak the troubled mind and carry away the stresses of the day. (4.5)
Salman Gita and Jamuud are the two main members and songwriters of Loop Guru, an ambient/world-music collective that has been releasing albums for over a decade. Back in the day their original methodology was to select some tape loops, distort them to produce something new and then overlay them -with this approach being enhanced in recent years by the advent of affordable samplers.
But the greater freedom of samplers doesn't guarantee greater quality - harnessing this flexibility in generative music requires significant skill, and Bathtime With shows Salman Gita and Jamuud to truly be gurus of that art. Many of the loops overlaid on Bathtime With are from wildly different genres of music, yet the Gurus distort and combine them seemingly effortlessly, and in a way that makes the album feel almost familiar on first listening despite being so unusual.
Of the nine album tracks Truffaut's Hat, and the title track, Bathtime are the two that make the most immediate impression. Truffaut's Hat's rhythms and dynamic use of a jazz double bass riff has echoes of drum 'n bass, and all this is pleasantly interleaved with two samples from the same source track - a string and a horn riff, one shivering and dark, the second smooth and euphoric.
The other immediate pleaser, Bathtime, contains what sounds like a couple of Europeans taking a bath and giggling and sighing in an unsexual but slightly disconcerting way, backed up by more delicious loops ripped from classical music, and all cohering into a strange yet compelling whole over metallic drums and bass.
It would be a pleasure to continue picking apart these carefully constructed tracks - for example Marble One and Promenade Sentimentale are also excellent combinations - the first exhibiting more of Loop Guru's sense of organic unity, and the other impressing with a great vocal.
In the end though the most fascinating thing is not what makes up these tracks, but the fact the elements can be combined at all. It is also impressive how these nine tracks come together as an album, with the sense of togetherness aided by a common dub-bass thread running through many of them, as well as elements of playfulness and mystical meditation.
Interestingly, Bathtime With actually follows hot on the heels of a two-year swell of interest in world-music ambient and "Ibiza" ambient compilations. Yet this album is less focused on drumbeats and beach sunset soundtracks, and more on a search for original and meaningful compositions. Bathtime With is closer in spirit to Brian Eno than the dance floor, and is all the richer for it.
- Alexis Kirke
Neither world music, ambient or experimental - though they have been justly described as all three, and more - Loop Guru have often trod a parallel path to Transglobal Underground, mashing Casbah atmosphere with the relentless advance of technology. Here though they add a dash of Northern Soul to the mix; not the kind you'll find at the Wigan Casino, instead they summon images of collieries, brass bands and pigeons, transplanted to a bazaar in Marrakech. If anything they've moved closer to Lemon Jelly, creating a translucent lysergic landscape through which float the ghosts of George Harrison, Sheila Chandra and Peter Kay. Echoes of every beautiful experience you've ever had abound, and while Loop Guru were ones to watch way back in 1992, today they are a band in front of whom we should prostrate ourselves. Music this magical is rare indeed.
Loop Guru - Bathtime With... (Guruniversal Earfood)
The mighty world music adventurers return after a five-year absence with a quite beautiful album. Sounds like JaMuud and Saam, the main men behind Loop Guru, have done some serious chilling out since they're last outing, as this is a dub heavy exotic blend of soundscapes. 'Bathtime With...' takes you on a spice-laden journey full of layer upon layer of rich instrumentation, occasionally topped off with some delicious female vocals or in the case of 'Promenade Sentimentale' some seductive French spoken words. As usual, trying to work out what has been played to create the music is nigh on impossible (psychedelic canary, transynthesised molecular construction kit anyone?). Safe to say though, that when mixed with the various samples it creates a sumptuous musical tapestry full of subtle twists and turns. The nine tracks on offer range from sensual cinematic epics such as the eight-minute plus 'Devotion No.4', to the freaky little pop number 'Fumsbow' that closes the album, all of course underpinned by a solid dub bass. Some may call it hippy world music, but Loop Guru exists out there in their own guruniverse creating infectious musical soundtracks in a style completely of their own and not without a big helping of humour! Grebo
by JONATHAN SELZER | COME ZERO
LIVE @ ASTORIA, LONDON
AT first sight, we're on totally different planets; them with their tie-dyed trousers, plaited beards and rainbow-banded jumpers, giving away the scent of spliff, all part of a global semi-consciousness. And then there's me, who values the perspective of the individual over that of the collective, the conceit of artifice over the conceit of "nature", who only ever felt western culture compared unfavourably for half an hour after watching "The Emerald Forest". I shouldn't belong here but I do. When Loop Guru take the stage, we are all of us as one.
I love Loop Guru. They're one of the bands I hold close, as though they were part of a personal armoury. It's not so much for the nobility of their sources as for the way they liberate them, offer them absolute freedom in the here and now. Loop Guru do for the history of the world what Saint Etienne do for the history of pop; they distill it down to its common denominator of joy, use their extensive terms of reference as invocations for the sublime.
It's the mark of a perfect pop band that they make it look so easy, but only because their instincts are so finely honed. Loop Guru are idealists, but that in itself wouldn't mean much to me if it didn't arise from anything other than their unyielding precision. There's an innocence about them that only their breadth of knowledge could define, and a selflessness that only the most self-aware could allow. Ethno-dance might often be an excuse for lazy sampling and cynicism, but LG have an integrity you can surf on, one one you can't help but feel accomodated by, a coherence that never lets you down.
The latest "Loop Bites Dog" LP might, for the most part, be a more chilled out, lingering affair, but tonight they're a non-stop exotic cabaret, an emphatic da-glo carnival. Inda Goldfinger is an ecstatic dynamo, dancing across the stage with the kind of beatific beam you get across your face when you find your equilibrium at a point close to exhaustion, and ocassionally letting out a wail of such yearning clarity it sets you reeling, only for the rhythms to pick you up again, to lose you once more in their giddy velocity. They take in (what sounds like) Aboriginal ragga chants, South American rallying cries, Eastern drones -- who knows what. All I do know is that their samples aren't badges, but rocket fuel, that Loop Guru embrace even me because they reach for something higher than the sum of their parts. Wondering where it's all coming from seems like an afterthought when you're dancing like a bastard.
How can one describe a band that mixes middle eastern drum beats, deconstructed dance music, pop culture samples, transcendental remixes, ambient jungle rhythms and more chanting than the monks of Tibet? There are only two words: LOOP GURU.
If ever a band embodied the term "Global Villiage," it is Loop Guru. Using a deft combination of old world instruments and vocals with new technology, Loop Guru create a collage of sounds that are somewhat familiar yet still unprecedented. Like an aural vacation, Loop Guru are more of a guide to a higher consciousness that is part of celebration, part history but 100% fun.
More succinctly, Loop Guru are a protein shake for your head. In the blender are the literary works of William Burroughs, the films of Satyajit Ray, the philosophy of spiritual leader Ram Dass, the music of Brian Eno and the astral landscape of a Phillip 'K. Dick novel.
Called the "Godfathers of global fusion" by Melody Maker, Loop Guru core members, who go under the pseudonyms Salman Gita and Jamuud, have been working together for about ten years. Their first recorded collaborations were the singles, "Mrbet" in 1992 and "Paradigm Shuffle" in 1993. Both were voted Single of the Week by British weeklies NME and Melody Maker.
Following the release of a third single "Sus-san-tics," Loop Guru recorded their first full length release "Duniya" in 1994. "Duniya" reached #4 on the UK Indie charts and was named to Melody Maker's Top 40 albums of 1994. Loop Guru gained widespread UK and European exposure due to massive radio air-play, as well as amassing a legion of die hard fans due to their highly stimulating live shows.
While Loop Guru's recorded output has garnered rave reviews, the bands live show is equally, if not more, impressive. Having played over 100 dates in the UK alone in 1995, they also played shows in clubs from Tokyo to Switzerland to New York. On a larger scale, Loop Guru have played for enthusiastic crowds at massive outdoor shows like the Glastonbury festival and Peter Gabriel's WOMAD festival at Reading in the United Kingdom.
For the stateside release of Loop Guru's second full-length release entitled "Amrita...all these and the Japanes Soup Warrior", Loop Guru once again reach into their ever expanding bag of tricks that are sure to open your mind and your soul. Tracks like the techno-dance hybrid "Yayli" and the ambient slow burn "Fumi" are examples of the disparate yet cohesive element that make up Loop Guru's unique sound. According to Jamuud, "There are tunes you can hum but you have no idea what you're humming."
You've never heard anything like them before, nor will you ever hear anything like them again.
from Outer Sound
It has been an enervating but rewarding journey. I speak of the quest to discover The Fountains of Paradise, not merely from a sonic scope, but to discover from what font it sprang, and when. It was a long train to Lhasa and many, many steps to the forbidden tculbet, but my scars, scabs and sweat were rewarded when the sacred monitor stood before me and gave speak to what I had sought.
I had been listening, oh yes. I had been listening as I went, the gentle drumming accompanying the slice of my machete, the distant voices a haunting reminder of my quest. I wondered, in those countless hours, "upon what road have these 'Loop Gurus' gone?" Surely nothing like their previous releases, Loop Bites Dog or Moksha, The Fountains of Paradise confounded me with its caresses, its patient rhythms, and its decidedly ambient flavor. Had the core formation of Loop Guru gone utterly ambient? It was this question that first spurred me on to my quest and drove my every step through innumerable countries and untold mosquito bites.
But still I pressed on. The irrationality of it fed my own irrationality. Just two years ago they had crafted a fine piece of electronic world beat called Loop Bites Dog, and now I hear sounds almost too ambient to be included on an ad compilation! How could this be? Have Muud and Sam gone ambient? Will their next record be released on Wyndham Hill? Such a possibility chilled me to the bone, but the answers would be mine soon enough.
I remember it well-- the long hallway hewn from rock, mossy stones covered with the shiny backs of beetles, then the niche, covered over with thick vines festooned with scarlet flowers. The old man had told me this was the place, so I swept the vines aside to reveal the sacred monitor. The 3D-Pipes screensaver was running, so I tapped the spacebar. My eyes lit up as the answers were revealed.
The monitor told me: "The Fountains of Paradise is a continuous dream adventure that previously appeared in another life as Catalogue of Desires, Volume 1, a limited- edition cassette- only release that predates Loop Guru's signing with Nation Records. It had been re-edited and remodeled for the millennium using state- of- the- art bliss enhancers. The contents are of high nutritional value, free from artificial preservatives, and guaranteed fad- free."
"A-ha!" I thought. "This explains everything-- The Fountains of Paradise is an evolutional deviation, recreated today from the gems of long ago. The monitor had even given me enough information to deduce the approximate date of the true birth of this recording-- sometime between 1990 and 1994. (Further research will be necessary to narrow this down, but I am not presently equipped to do carbon dating in the field.)
In that single moment, it had all come together-- the ambient sound, the muted rhythms, the slow, seductive change from Loop Guru's traditional, beat- heavy releases, it was all part of the evolution of the band! I could feel my mind reeling at the knowledge-- it was more than one music reviewer should bear. At just that moment, the most soothing, multi- textured sound came out of my 'phones, filled with chants and native instruments, and I not only heard the Om, I knew the Om.
-James P. Wisdom