LOOM: The Tree Hates the Forest (2013)
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
“This is a solid album of e-rock filled by too many and obvious musical blinks to Tangerine Dream's universes, both of Schmoelling's and Jerome's”
1 Polaroids from Anywhere 8:09
2 Cloud Walk 4:35
3 Quantal Highways 4:17
4 The Vedic Ritual 8:39
5 A Grand Solar Minimum 7:07
6 Bandhu 9:33
7 A Night out at the Cirqus Voltaire 6:17
8 Chants Beyond the Underworld 5:07
9 Emerald Suite 8:27
10 Tachycardia 5:54
(CD 67:19) (V.F.)
A nice fluty chant reflects in smooth and discreet orchestral arrangements. It announces the turbulences of Polaroids from Anywhere; a track filled by the vicious approaches of Jerome Froese and of his best moods in Neptunes that hooks me straight from the first listening. After an ambiospherical intro blocked by a host of noises of which the roots recall the metallic ambiences of the Logos years, the tears and laments of synths bring to mind the White Eagle years. Sequences and percussions? The Hyperborea and Poland years. Here is all the discomfort of THE TREE HATES THE FOREST! Polaroids from Anywhere feels one's way forward by the means of good flickered sequences, effects of cotton gases and the jerky riffs of Jerome's Guitartronica. Between its phases of heavy but static rhythm and its floating melodic ambiences where each sonic morsels is as a fusion between Jerome Froese's universes and that of Johannes Schmoelling in his Tangerine Dream years, Polaroids from Anywhere, just like A Grand Solar Minimum, and its orchestral scents, as well as Emerald Suite and its harmonious envelope which does very Schmoelling, stands still of a way which teases constantly the hearing but without ever taking off. It's good, but something is missing. And this observation is at the greatness of this new Loom album.
Oh... did I have some difficulties with this last album of Loom! Not that it's not good! It's just not great. I would rather say that it's not as high as expected. To say the least, my expectations. And the waits were very high with good reason, further to both EPs and especially after Scored; a superb live album with some appetizers of what should have to come later. Cornered between the Virgin, Jive and Miramar years of Tangerine Dream, the very stylized harmonious approaches of Johannes Schmoelling as well as the heavy rhythms born of Jerome Froese's hatched riffs, the best of the examples is Bandhu, THE TREE HATES THE FOREST seems to be a victim of the trio's members' ego. Thus, each track is flooded in ambivalent structures where we have the vague impression that each member of Loom tries to impress and to challenge the other ones. So is missing a form of cohesion and complicity, contrary to Scored and even 200 002. We find particularly good ideas which are not enough exploited because the track goes towards another avenue, always so good, but always so quickly exploited. There are pieces of music that we listen to and which gives us the taste of listening to some Dream albums or yet to Jerome's music. The essence of Schmoelling? Mostly we find it everywhere. I don't really think that it was the effect looked for by Loom. To say the least, it's not what I was hearing for. If we have some good flashbacks of 200 002's Rejuvenation here and there, we rather notice pretty fast that each track is a kind of sonic Babel tower where too many ingredients, peculiar to each and to their roots, are bubbling up in structures quite rather inviting.
Very promising and flooded in sound effects à la Exit, The Vedic Ritual falls flat. If we like the approach of dreamy ballad of Cloud Walk, and its notes of electric piano which slumber in a kind of Logos' moods and as well as on a chain of circular sequences, we try to understand in which moods are situated the boiling Quantal Highways and A Night out at the Cirqus Voltaire which sound like New Age big symphonic e-rock à la Vangelis and Yanni. It's not bad, but something is missing there. And this in spite of the particularly good solos from Schmoelling. At this level Chants Beyond the Underworld is more successful. The influence of Schmoelling remains and his clothes of Vangelis perspire dramatic filmic inspirations. Tachycardia is a bomb! A hyperactive track which would have without a shadow of doubt figured on Jerome's album or still Robert Waters' so much the rhythm, powerful and dynamic, diminishes not at all the fine melodious breezes.
As you can read, THE TREE HATES THE FOREST is not that bad. It's a lively and dynamic album where the vast experience of Johannes Schmoelling seems to retain the enthusiasm of his two young accomplices. In so doing, each track explodes of these various visions and approaches of Schmoelling, Froese and … Waters. Strange, I was going to write Franke. At doing too much, at loading to the rim each of the structures and by wanting to embrace the egos of all and each, Loom missed its shot. Each title abounds of personal imprints from the members of the trio which too often tries to cross the most promising or the most commercial lands of the Dream. As would say my lovely Lise; too much is like not enough. But what else could we expect from Loom?
Sylvain Lupari (March 24th, 2014) ***½**
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