Passing Place

Passing Place


Released 28/11/2011

Passing Place…"somewhere to stop and reflect on past events, draw a line under them, and move on…"

Strictly Kev (DJ Food) "The new album is beautiful it seems to exist in a space and time that I can’t place. I hear shades of jazz, classical, brass band of course, that conjures up images of Britain but there are also strains of medieval folk music and even radiophonic synth work".

Loka, Ninja Tune’s cult psychedelicists, purveyors of cinematic music that disturbs and troubles and intrigues rather than comforts, return with a new album, Passing Place. With many acts finding considerable critical acclaim in the music world right now through adventures in the outer reaches of psychedelia/jazz/classical, it's worth remembering that Loka have been ploughing this field with stunning results ever since their debut track on NInja Tunes 10th birthday compilation Xen Cuts in 2000 when they emerged from the same fertile alt-Liverpool scene as Pop Levi, Zukanican and Super Numeri.

The debut album proper was Fire Shepherds in 2006. Since that album, co-founder Karl Webb left Loka, leaving Mark Kyriacou to carry the banner. Mark re-grouped with members of the live Loka band (Tom Sumnall – bass, Ged Hawksworth – drums, Catherine Norman – keyboards and Ray Dickaty - sax) and went about sketching out ideas later to become Passing Place. The initial sketches were made in 2008 in a rented rehearsal space in the old Big Issue building in Liverpool. These sketches were then taken to Thighpaulsandra’s (of Julian Cope, Spiritualized and Coil fame) Aeriel Studios in the depths of rural south west Wales for colouring in. Thighpaulsandra played an integral part to the making of the album as he engineered, co-produced and assisted in the scoring out of the brass band layers. Once the foundations were recorded the additional layers were added over the following year. The album was mixed and completed back at Aeriel Studios and then subsequently mastered by the legendary Kevin Metcalfe. 

The result is their most confident and cinematic album yet. Less claustrophobic and inward than before, the new album has a wide-screen, rolling hills vista feel to it, perhaps most beautifully realised with Anglesey’s brass ensemble Seindorf Beaumaris Band on instrumental tracks such as "The Art Of Burning Bridges," "Exit" and "Sound Stars Make". "Passing Place" also showcases great use of vocals too to augment their considerable instrumental nous; main single "Sam Star" sounds like Broadcast after munching an acid blotter and staring at a Boyle Family light show featuring the voice of Eleanor Mante and Nikos Papanagiotou on drums. The dark motorik groove of "The Beauty In Darkness" and "Temporary External" both feature vocals by the Columbian singer Lido Pimienta and brass layers once again by the Seindorf Beaumaris Band, with the latter song coming on like the soundtrack to an anticipatory biopic of Robert Wyatt, made while he was still a school boy. There is a lot of top-level musicianship on show on "Passing Place". Take the section "As The Tower Falls" and "The Tower", which share a certain jazz/rock high-energy propulsion with that of label-mates Jaga Jazzist, and shows Loka can do varying tempos effectively during the course a full-length. It is an album seeped in reflection, but containing a wide-eyed thinking of the days to come. Welcome to the timeless world of Loka.

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