The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


A Guilded Eternity reissue Julian Marszalek , June 8th, 2009 06:41

The circle is now complete.

That the reissue of A Gilded Eternity comes in a remastered and extended package is entirely in keeping with its original format back in 1990. Back then, the album's seven tracks where spread across two 12" singles, allowing the listener a greater aural experience. Only a band as concerned with hypno-monotony, overdrive pedals and sheer raw power as Loop would have bothered to exploit the wider grooves of the medium for that extra volume.

But as their final studio album displayed, there was far more to Loop than bludgeoning riffs and cranking up the gain control. Here was a band that also traded in textures, pace and a no less intoxicated alternative to the saucer-eyed ravers who were 'avin' it large to the bands that had always had a dance element to their music. A Gilded Eternity was the moment that Loop slipped loose the anchor and set sail into a universe that was entirely their own.

Despite early comparisons to Spacemen 3, the Loop that delivered the push-and-pull of 'Vapour' were as far removed from their Rugby contemporaries as Sonic and Jason themselves were about to become. A Gilded Eternity was a collection of hypnotic mantras, tracks that used repetition deliberately and methodically to induce a trance-like state. The epic 'Be Here Now' is a typical case: built around a circling, swooping riff, its build-up is both subtle and jarring, coming on with all the stealth and power of an unexpurgated LSD trip.

Of less interest to casual observers is The World In Your Eyes, a three-CD collection of early singles, demos, cover versions, b-sides and remixes that nonetheless charts the growth of these space cadets. Early material such as 'Head On' and '16 Dreams' finds Loop with an idea of their final destination if not necessarily the means of actually getting there though their path is firmly established by the second disc. Creditable covers of Nick Drake's 'Pink Moon' and Neil Young's 'Cinnamon Girl' are played straight; but the real joy is their 10-minute version of Can's 'Mother Sky', on which motorik beats power a series of distorted and unsettling cheesewire slashes with a relentless, merciless intensity.

And then, almost as soon as they'd arrived to fanfare, acclaim and a degree of commercial success, they were gone. Perhaps it was better that way as, listening back to the definitive statement that is A Gilded Eternity, it's difficult to see where they could have gone next. These were stars that burned and shone with an intense brightness, and it's testament to Loop's vision and delivery that the mark they made is indelible.