Loki's compelling journey into atmospherics
Well, pop tarts, you're all wondering what the fuck to do during lockdown (apart from fucking, fighting, boozing and drugging), so here I am to sprinkle sparkles of hope and joy...
This is my first and probably last music review for 2021. So this will be short, but sweet.
As I may have reflected, we live in a golden age of music, where the vast majority of what is popular is unbelievably smug and gittish.
Unlike, to take one label by way of example, Spooky Records (sometime home of such mainstays as The Beasts of Bourbon, 6 Ft Hick, Sun God Replica, Shifting Sands, The Braves, Spencer P. Jones, Brian Henry Hooper, Lost Talk, Harry Howard and the NDE, and a host more), whose releases are exciting, curious, intriguing and often downright addictive.
Velatine is Spooky Records' new baby, and it's essentially label owner Loki Lockwood himself, creating pieces he's been threatening to do for several years. Finally, with Covid's imprisonment, he was able to lock himself in his garret and get on with it. A judicious mix of instrumentation and plugged-in computer work, you're gonna be smitten.
"Store Atmospherics" is at first listen (PLAY LOUD) a bit reminiscent of Laibach crossbred with John Carpenter's 1970s scores via Morricone - but it's so much more. "The Trap" is more like a TV series score, with a tender longing which makes you wonder if the noir 1990s ever ended. Soaring, sobbing strings, strong addictive rhythms ...
Both these discs have been on my car stereo for months now. The housemate likes it. My mum likes it. Last time I was driving through heavy rain and storms I had "Store Atmospherics" on and I gave up and parked and just listened while the elements pounded the car. Absolutely priceless, you just can't find music like this anymore. "The Trap" is equally commanding, moving and downright addictive.
There are a few film clips: check out "John the Detective":
Spooky's site states:
“Velatine is electronic instrumental music integrating organic, sound design and orchestral elements. The new album ‘The Trap’ is a little more cinematic than the debut; yeah, it has some up-tempo tunes but this time I found writing tracks with little or no drums rather inspiring. It's like a movie soundtrack compilation where the mood of each track swings...”
I should butt in and explain that "Store Atmospherics" does credit some 20+ musicians; not that I've heard of any of 'em. That's not the point. The point is Velatine is brilliant. Two separate albums, slightly reminiscent of Laibach (but so different I may as well not have said that. In fact, I didn't) and I've played both in the car (at rather vivid volume) and everyone who's heard them... asks who it is, because they want it.
Some tracks lope along with a motorik intensity, shot through with veins of opalescent highlights; others seem to reach out to choke you. Some of "Store Atmospherics"s booming rhythms and drums grab you and have you heading down the highway at speed even though you'd only popped out for a carton of milk and a tin of prunes, while "The Trap" will have you pulling over for a quiet blub and a contemplative, somewhat stunned drive back (via the bottlo).
I'll let Loki close:
“Velatine comes from my love of creating electronic music. My on/off binges stretch back to music school and experimenting with early synthesis then, on through raw early sampling and tape machines to 2020. With the mind numbing limitless options of current virtual technology this is just the beginning. It’ll probably end when I’m dead because it’s just too much fucking fun.”
Get it here and remember, once you've burned them, PLAY LOUD!