Multichannel Diffusion: an interview with Robert Hampson

Loydell, Rupert ORCID logoORCID: (2023) Multichannel Diffusion: an interview with Robert Hampson. Punk & Post-Punk, 12 (1). pp. 79-90. ISSN 20441983 (In Press)

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Abstract / Summary

Loop emerged as a psychedelic postpunk guitar band in the 1980s, with layered guitars turned up loud and enigmatic vocals muffled in the mix. They stretched and distorted songs into intricate guitar workouts, weaving effects and fuzz between bass and drum propulsion, sounding like a weird hybrid of Television, Chrome and Hawkwind. Along with their three studio albums there were a series of amazing 12" singles and some astonishing Peel sessions, which were later collected together as the album Wolf Flow (Loop, 1991). 1990's A Gilded Eternity – initially released as two 12" singles in an album sleeve – saw Loop experimenting with more abstract dub and soundscape elements before the original band broke up.

Robert Hampson went on to form Main with Loop guitarist Scott Dowson, who continued to experiment with guitars and noise, but later became a solo and guitarless project following Dowson's exit. Hampson eventually moved to Paris and into more minimalist soundscapes, releasing work broadly within the area of musique concrète and acousmatic music, arranging sound into intriguingly textured compositions. And then in 2013 Hampson picked up his guitar again and created a new version of Loop, who released the Array 1 EP in 2015, played some gigs – including the 2018 Meltdown Festival, and then seemed to disappear again.

The 2022 album, Sonancy, however, finds Loop in fine fettle and ready to rock. Hampson may be the only original member, but the rhythm department here sound crisper and more urgent than the original band, allowing more guitar interplay and layering over the top. Most tracks seem quite short, and I must say I'd have liked even more extended guitar solos and explorations, but the 6 minute 'Isochrone' allows for some experiment, as does the closing moments of 'Fermion' and the wonderful intro to 'Penumbra II', where sustained and overdriven guitars soar and drone above a muscular drum riff. 'Penumbra I' meanwhile, serves as a miniature interlude, a quiet moment in which to draw breath, before the music returns to more hypnotic regions.

Sonically, Sonancy is superbly recorded, with clear layering and definition; musically, it builds on both Loop's back catalogue but also Hampson's work with Main and as a solo artist. There's an engaging energy and drive here that soon gets you shaking your head, but also a subtle and clever sonic palette that uses foreground, background and its stereo mix to full effect. It's good to have Loop back and it seemed the time was right to interview Robert Hampson about his intriguing and various music.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1386/punk_00146_7
ISSN: 20441983
eISSN: 20443706
Subjects: Writing & Journalism > Creative Writing
Music > Instrumental
Writing & Journalism > Journalism
Music > Popular Music
Music > Sound Art
Writing & Journalism
Courses by Department: The School of Writing & Journalism > English & Writing
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Rupert Loydell
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2022 12:54
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2023 01:38


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