Review: Loom – London Ambient

The title of Daniel Timms’ latest release as Loom is slightly misleading. There’s nothing particularly calming or meditative about this EP, and if you’re expecting bare-bones weightless grime skeletons in the vein of Mumdance and Logos, then you won’t find them here. The title makes more sense when ‘ambient’ is taken literally – meaning a relation to the surrounding environment. ‘London Ambient’ is a record that is clearly influenced by the environment it was produced in, whether that means the city, the people, or the music. Loom has been a fixture of the Gobstopper Records crew for a few years now, this being his third release for the label. A founding member of club collective and party Acid Fantasy, he’s evidently surrounded by like-minded producers and artists that share a collective vision. The inspiration for this EP reportedly came from working in two notable London record shops, Redeye and Honest Jon’s, soaking up the range of music he was exposed to there and allowing it to seep into his own creations.

You can hear Timm’s growing respect for rave tradition in almost every track – the synths crackle and burn with the saturated warmth of tape or vinyl, and the drums have the filthy crunch of an 808’s dusty circuitboard. His prior fixation with grime and it’s accompanying structures has been replaced by a much broader embrace of old-school rave sounds. This new approach has mixed results – ‘Aacccid’ comes across as unimaginative, featuring the kind of melodies you might bang out on your first project for GCSE Music Tech, laid out over a beat that never really goes anywhere. ’Dog in the Fight’ is an absolute belter, though, ratcheting up the tension with sparse hand-claps and strings before unleashing a raucous, mutant bassline that easily carries the rest of the track. Along with the gritty breaks of ‘Saturday Job at Laser Quest’ (write about what you know, right?) these two form the record’s centre, which is bookended by two essentially beatless cuts that hint at the wide-eyed ambience offered in the title.

‘Heavy Glow’ showcases his varied palette of sounds, putting a beautifully dense pad front and centre while ghostly textures and birdlike synth chirps circle around it. ‘Forever’ is even more effective, using spaced-out vocal samples that reverberate around the atmospheric synth work to give the track a real sense of depth and emotion. While the rest of the EP is an accomplished, competent take on sounds we’ve all heard before, it’s these two that show Loom transcending his influences to create something that’s truly his own.

‘London Ambient’ is out now on Gobstopper Records. Buy it here.

Words: Matt Mullen

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