The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Soundhead: Robert Hampson Of Loop’s Favourite Albums
John Doran , November 13th, 2013 07:37

Ahead of the first Loop gigs in 22 years, Robert Hampson tells John Doran about the LPs that he feels were neglected at the time but are now finding their audience


Can - Tago Mago
It wasn’t so easy to find music when I was younger as it is now. I was aware of Can because they had a minor pop hit in the UK charts with ‘I Want More’ in 1976. I remember seeing them [on Top Of The Pops] and really loving that track, even though I couldn’t imagine what kind of band they were. About three years later Metal Box by PiL came out and that for me and a lot of other people was an incredibly seminal record. I remember reading an interview with Lydon at the time and him talking about Can. At this time, if I was curious about a record, I would go to a shop in Croydon, which is sadly no longer there, called Beano’s. At the time it was considered to be one of the best second hand collector’s record shops in the whole of the UK. And invariably, if it wasn’t very poppy, you could find what you wanted pretty cheap as well. So I remember at that time hearing about Faust and Neu! as well. And I got into them via Can and Can via Metal Box. No one was buying these albums though. They’d always be about £1.50 and in mint condition because people hadn’t played them. Tago Mago took everything that I knew I liked about “Krautrock” and amplified it tenfold. Can became more and more important to me. Can were as important to me as other bands like Cabaret Voltaire and 23 Skidoo when I was first trying to form a band myself. The point of my choice of Tago Mago is that it’s all the good stuff about Can but stretched out. It’s a double album and all the tracks are really long. The recordings were very minimal and very live-sounding. They got more into doing overdubs as they went on, but this is them in their most pure spirit. It’s just them in the studio playing but the real power comes from Holger Czukay’s editing. Like with Teo Macero, it’s sublime. It’s been done with such care that it’s become invisible. It’s the sound of a magician at work and Jaki Liebezeit is the greatest drummer in the world.