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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


John Cale - Paris 1919
This album doesn’t put a foot wrong. For Cale, it’s probably the easiest album to listen to out of his back catalogue. I can imagine if you weren’t a John Cale fan, this is probably the album that it would be easiest to find something in. The way he was working during this period is just incredible. Paris 1919 and Fear are just incredible albums themselves. They are so perfect and so unique. They’re both very different records but still obviously John Cale. I’m a massive John Cale bore to be honest. I think he’s a genius. This is very off-kilter pop. Everything is always wonky, no matter how you look at it. Slightly unusual arrangements or very unusual instrumentation that comes in every so often. It’s not as polished as you’d expect for a record that came out during this period when studios were becoming far more sophisticated and indulging in a lot of multi-tracking but he has kept the whole thing very minimal. He’s from that background so he’s not scared of minimalism. And that’s what really makes it stick out for this period and for someone who I guess you could class as a singer-songwriter. It has an energy that I don’t associate with anyone else from that time frame. It’s a tribute to his childhood in Wales and thoughts he had growing up. It was made at a time when he was possibly unsure of himself. Those records he was making at the time, you could tell he was trying to do something different. I think he probably said to himself, “Right, I’m going to make an all-out pop record.” It’s only my supposition but I think he tried it and it didn’t work but that’s the reason why it’s so great.