L O O P ! S T A T I O N


Photo David Waldorf

A loop station is one name for a device that allows a musician to sample a live phrase they are performing and play it back continuously, thereby allowing that musician to virtually duplicate their sound potential on stage, ad infinitum. The technology brings new meaning to the concept of the one-man band as musicians can now accompany their own playing in real time with no limit to the number of samples they generate. Witness Sam Bass, a classically trained cellist, pluck out a rhythm segment on the strings of his curiously wired instrument, and then draw his bow and play a melody on top of it, literally without missing a beat. Add seasoned vocalist, Robin Coomer, also sampling and looping her own vocal phrases, and you get the lush, layered, soulful constructions of the one-man, one-woman band named,of all things, LOOP!STATION.

Of course, the audience is well advised to beware the gizmo, lest the music gets lost in the novelty of circuits and motherboards. Indeed, it is novel to watch two individuals build a tapestry of sound that would normally take a large ensemble to achieve. It is also enticing to watch a song being built from the ground up, before your very eyes. Close your eyes however, and regardless of how-many- whos, and who's- playing-what, the compositions captivate.

LOOP!STATION treats the listener to the building and receding of complexities, ethereal associations, silvery voices, with flashes of soul, psychadelia, and cabaret. Coomer's vocals are especially impressive with her ability to combine raw power with genuine emotive delicacy. Think of a boxer throwing a punch and then drawing the gesture back slower than the viscous bleeding out. Recall Linda Perry, Johnette Napolitano and, I dare say, Grace Slick. Her range compliments Bass' remarkable ability to pull an endless array of sounds from his strings, suggesting everything from a screaming electric guitar to a weeping violin. The final effect is one of rich swirling beauty, where the Buddha resides in both the loop of the machine and the station of the heart.

Jeffrey Decoster, "Behind the Scene", San Francisco Magazine, May 2003


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