“From jazz to classical” – as a description of the music a band makes, that’s a line that can make you throw things. What does it really mean? Loka will turn you inside out, though. All those influences and more, this is emotional electronic music with a human pulse. By Denis Parkinson.
Some things can’t be rushed. They take time to build, grow and develop. That’s just the way it is… it’s ready when it’s ready. It’s refreshing, then, that in the modern age, Loka – an electronic band based in Liverpool – have taken their time to get things right. ‘Northern Oscillations’, their third album in eleven years, is nearly with us and I can’t wait. Loka have played a long game and have played it well.
Describing themselves as an “ever-evolving, compelling and innovative band, drawing on influences from jazz to classical, to BBC Radiophonic Workshop, to sixties psychedelia,” they’ve hit the nail on the head! Mainly, though, this description just emphasises the difficulty with pigeon holes and music.
Loka are all this and more. “I’m afraid that it can’t help itself,” goes new single, ‘Everything Exploded’, over a complex structure, sinister atmosphere and experimental electronica. It’s strangely strange, but accessible… think about your favourite film score, perhaps. The single represents a natural evolution from earlier work, such as the heavy and hypnotic ‘Herculaneum Rock’, and is a more traditionally structured song. If hit singles still existed, it would be one: still complex and deep, but clearly different.
If the group’s earlier work did explode, then this is what would emerge into a new universe. It’s the essence of Loka and their ‘big bang’ leap forward. Last album, 2011’s ‘Passing Place’, made waves and the band played a BBC Radio 1 session for Giles Peterson and toured Europe and Canada. The six-piece pop-art collective deliver melodic electronic music with atmosphere and depth, and – if this latest single serves as a taster for the tangible development to come on ‘Northern Oscillations’ – then listeners should make the most of the forthcoming album and seek it out enthusiastically.
With music this well crafted, there might not be another one along for some time.
Emotion Wave featuring Loka, Bemp, Foxen Cyn
Saturday October 28th, 8pm
81 Renshaw Street, Liverpool
Pic by Jazamin Sinclair