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Oxygene8: Loop 1 (2012)

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Oxygene8: Loop 1 How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

The musicians laid out an interesting paradigm to serve as the basis for Loop 1— where one composition is delineated upon a continuous loop. However, this factor may not seem wholly intuitive after a few initial listens. It's largely about structure and improvisation, centered on an expansive framework, based on a concept originated by touch guitarist Linda Cushma.

With great stamina, the band soars with its jet engines intact, profoundly supported by drummer Tim Alexander's polyrhythmic cadences and flurries, amid Cushma's driving bass parts. Blitzkrieg guitars, layered synths, and ethereal interludes coexist with notions of Indie-rock, abetted by Fatimah Halim's airy vocal choruses. It's a musical journey in every sense, as the musicians uncannily morph torrid soloing exercises with throttling flows and an abundance of electrifying contrasts.

Thrusting grooves often give way to split-second shifts in strategy and rough-hewn ambient dreamscapes via customary loops and some high-paced funk-rock motives. Toss in a few plaintive cries and momentous aerial assaults and the band drives it all home with sweeping patterns and intense improvisational segments, largely focused on the progressive-rock element. Halim occasionally softens or tempers the pulsating crescendos with beatific wordless vocals and the piece closes with a whispery breeze that fades into an imaginary abyss.

Loop 1 abounds with a synergistic group-centric foray and contains a veil of inventiveness that elevates the album into a top-shelf pick for 2012.

Track Listing: Loop 1.

Personnel: Linda Cushma: vocals, Chapman Stick, bass, loops, guitar synth; John Humphrey: bass; Joe Myers: guitar; Tim Alexander: drums; Fatimah Halim: vocals; Claudio Cordero: guitar; Steve Parrish: composer, producer.

Record Label: Self Produced


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