Loka – Passing Place
(NINJA TUNE, ZEN175. CD Review by Michiel Putting)
Last year the Ninja Tune label celebrated its 20th anniversary with a worldwide tour of sold-out shows featuring a host of successful artists that have been with the label since it began.
Never content with one musical direction or style the label has managed to avoid trends and fads, and remain bold, fresh and exciting.
It is promising to see that the second album from Loka – Passing Place maintains that original blueprint. Reminiscent of Kirk Degiorgio’s As One project, the opener Entrance features the haunting vocals of Sera Baines in a cosmic soul, funk and jazz-fusion. Uplifting broken beat jazz accompany Eleanor Mante ’s spoken word consciousness on As The Tower Falls, whilst The Tower pays homage to classic 1960’s film scores, with its reflective intro and psychedelic jazz workout. Angelsey’s very own Beaumaris Seindorf Band play a timeless cinematic ballad on The Art of Burning Bridges.
The vocals on Sam Star are somewhat idiosyncratic, and they make a decidedly strange pairing with the drum loops and shifting psychedelic pace of the track. However, it is the emotive female vocals that are an intrinsic part of the album. Lido Pimienta breathes warmth into the epic The Beauty In Darkness, complementing the electronics and brass section. This Colombian singer also adds her sweet, yet sultry downbeat touch to the exquisite Temporary External.
Beginning with looping BBC Radiophonic style electronics The Sounds Stars Make shifts into a whispering solo piano piece, complete with wind section. Lido Pimienta makes another appearance on Attrition Exposed, with a mournful recital about a broken relationship.
No Water sounds like Angelo Badalamenti with skittering electronics, whilst the Mirror Image Opposite returns to psychedelic big band jazz territory. The aptly named Exit closes with a wide-screen atmospheric crescendo from the brass.
One reviewer has referred to ‘strains of medieval folk and even radiophonic synth work.’ This indeed gives a pointer to the breadth and scope of the styles on display here.
There is both effortless variation and natural flow in Passing Place, a consistently interesting release.
Release Date : 28 Nov 2011
Live: 30 Nov 2011, Queen Of Hoxton, London