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Frood of the Loop
Frood of the Loop
[Taping Desk O-phon Mania; 2019]
I‘m the kind of person who makes pop cultural references at a constant clip in conversation; it’s just how I’m wired, I guess. I have a knack for retaining the most trivial bit of nonsense from a film or a television show or a book or a song. If you look at any of the writing I’ve done on this site (or any other), you’ll see that it’s peppered with memes and GIFs (thanks Frinkiac and Morbotron!) and other stupid things that I’m sure I’d be embarrassed about if I were serious in any way. I’m locked in to modern cynicism disguised as terse humor! I probably shouldn’t be making light of it. Or maybe I should be making light of it even more, depending on how the cynic in me feels at any given moment.
Turns out, I’m not the only one who thinks this way, so there’s no need to be embarrassed. This quartet of “hoopy froods” from Stuttgart seems to have read a bit of Douglas Adams in their time. Happily, I’m in on the gag — also this one and this one — and I can approach Frood of the Loop from that perspective. The alien one, through a cracked human lens, that is a bit off-kilter and not quite easy to get the hang of. The one where it’s worth hanging on for the entire ride.
Frood of the Loop brings together a double album’s worth of delicate improvisation, where the players craft lengthy passages with analog and electronic equipment, falling somewhere between Fripp/Eno and Tortoise, but without the rhythm section (or maybe another Thrill Jockey mainstay — let’s say Date Palms). The movement is crushingly tentative, with sections lasting for several minutes before subtly evolving into completely different vibes. Take the 20-minute “Lake Everest,” for instance, whose downbeat-strummed guitar fights other effects before being engulfed by those effects, which are then finally smoothed over by gentle bass. From here, the ambience flickers into cosmic sparks, igniting the genesis of new worlds. It’s as post-rock as it gets, if you’re not thinking about Godspeed et al.
By the time the massive 24-minute closer “Chicken Tikka Massaker” finally expands itself beyond the edges of the perceivable universe, you’ll have traveled beyond the bursts of nuclear fission and the coalescing of space dust into the vast empty expanse, where the only company you have anymore includes lonely flute trills and sitar drones and periodic vibraphone pats, enough to mark the passage of the Heart of Gold into incredible nothing. You’ll just have to make conversation with Zaphod and Marvin the Paranoid Android to pass the rest of existence, and we all know how much of a chore that’s probably going to be. Play them this Frood of the Loop record then; they might dig it as much as you do.