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Liverpool, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Liverpool, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Jazz EDM


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"Loka - Passing Place"

see link - Uncut

"Loka - Passing Place"

Last year the Ninja Tune label celebrated its 20th anniversary with a worldwide tour of sold-out shows featuring a host of successful artists that have been with the label since it began.
Never content with one musical direction or style the label has managed to avoid trends and fads, and remain bold, fresh and exciting.
It is promising to see that the second album from Loka – Passing Place maintains that original blueprint. Reminiscent of Kirk Degiorgio’s As One project, the opener Entrance features the haunting vocals of Sera Baines in a cosmic soul, funk and jazz-fusion. Uplifting broken beat jazz accompany Eleanor Mante ’s spoken word consciousness on As The Tower Falls, whilst The Tower pays homage to classic 1960’s film scores, with its reflective intro and psychedelic jazz workout. Angelsey’s very own Beaumaris Seindorf Band play a timeless cinematic ballad on The Art of Burning Bridges.

The vocals on Sam Star are somewhat idiosyncratic, and they make a decidedly strange pairing with the drum loops and shifting psychedelic pace of the track. However, it is the emotive female vocals that are an intrinsic part of the album. Lido Pimienta breathes warmth into the epic The Beauty In Darkness, complementing the electronics and brass section. This Colombian singer also adds her sweet, yet sultry downbeat touch to the exquisite Temporary External.

Beginning with looping BBC Radiophonic style electronics The Sounds Stars Make shifts into a whispering solo piano piece, complete with wind section. Lido Pimienta makes another appearance on Attrition Exposed, with a mournful recital about a broken relationship.

No Water sounds like Angelo Badalamenti with skittering electronics, whilst the Mirror Image Opposite returns to psychedelic big band jazz territory. The aptly named Exit closes with a wide-screen atmospheric crescendo from the brass.

One reviewer has referred to ‘strains of medieval folk and even radiophonic synth work.’ This indeed gives a pointer to the breadth and scope of the styles on display here.

There is both effortless variation and natural flow in Passing Place, a consistently interesting release. - London Jazz

"Loka - Passing Place"

Loka from Liverpool release their second studio full-length after 2006’s Fire Shepherds.Since that release, Loka lost founding member Karl Webb which left Mark Kyriacou to recruit members from the live Loka band into the studio for Passing Place.

On “Entrance”, Passing Place opens with significant power; instruments meet between symphonic and electronic before enhanced folk vocals go acapella. On this number, Loka makes that entrance count.

As the record continues Loka present cool examples of spoken word enhanced through a second vocalist whispering her words in repetition (on “As The Tower Falls”). We get our first taste of the full jazz sounds of Loka to follow through cohesive connection of challenging rhythms between guitars, keyboards, drums, and saxophone.

“The Art of Burning Bridges” brings a darker softer tone to the record before “Sam Star” picks up the energy through glittery keyboard sounds and indie-style vocals while maintaining a sad kind of feeling. And that feeling continues on “The Beauty in Darkness”– with an electric guitar and vocal focus— before kicking back to the cool multi-instrumental jazz sound found common throughout. The song shows great ability of movement between sounds and feelings.

“Attrition Exposed” and “Temporary External” are examples of songs that musically move slowly with focus on expressive vocals. Somewhat harder to listen to unless that’s your thing; still as a whole this record is highly listenable. There is a natural flow to the music that hits great places of beauty.

All in all, this is a full and long record with depth and variation. Half way through Passing Place, it comes as a surprise that the album is only part way to completion due to extensive areas of audio journeyed and explored. Loka shares similarities with fellow Ninja Tune band Jaga Jazzist from Norway based on their excellent cohesiveness between instruments and in their ability to create stories through their music

By Sarah Ferguson - Northern Transmissions

"Loka - Passing Place"

see link - Artrocker

"Loka - Passing Place"

Calling it a day would’ve been the easy option for Loka co-founder Mark Kyriacou when other half Karl Webb quit the band following the release of their 2006 debut album Fire Shepherds.

Instead Kyriacou regrouped with three members of Loka’s touring band and got to work on new material. Knuckling down would be overstating it – it has been five years, after all – but new album Passing Place was obviously a labour of love, joining the dots between Zero 7 and John Barry.

The moody, jazz-inflected album covers plenty of bases. The Art Of Burning Bridges is reminiscent of Felt Mountain-era Goldfrapp, The Beauty in Darkness is beguilingly Bjork-like and Sam Star stirs up some arresting proggy drama.

With Anglesey’s versatile Seindorth Beaumaris brass ensemble contributing both portentous frissons of tension and laidback cool, Loka can stand proud alongside their talented contemporaries Hidden Orchestra and Jaga Jazzist. - Yorkshire Evening Post

"Loka - Passing Place"

'Passing Place' is a wonderfully ambitious piece of work, confirming Loka as a band whose imagination knows no bounds. So much so that we have a brass band – the Beaumaris Seindorf Band, no less – on several of the tracks making up 'Passing Place'. This provides an indication of the lengths the band are prepared to go to secure some genuinely unusual and affecting sounds. The soft brass chords that open 'The Art Of Burning Bridges' could easily be from a soundtrack, while the weird but strangely affecting vocals that take over 'The Beauty In Darkness' come from Columbian singer Lido Pimienta. There are some unusual beats here too, working in elements of syncopated jazz, classical and oddly positioned funk – and all add up to an experience the like of which you have probably not heard before. One to listen to on widescreen, where it will reveal all of its hidden gems.

5 out of 5

Reviewed By Ben Hogwood - DMC World Magazine

"Loka - Passing Place"

Because it’s on Ninja Tune, people will automatically assume it’s some sort of electronica or hyper music. Instead, it’s this beautiful cinematic experience that’s pretty mindblowing, somewhat because it is being released on Ninja Tune. After a stop in a favorite indie store of mine (Landlocked Music) where they were playing Henry Mancini’s Mr. Lucky score, I’ve been looking around for other albums like it. While I’m not trying to say Loka is a substitute for Mancini, it does carry that kind of vibe. Highly recommended. - Record Racks

"Loka - Passing Place"

In sanskrit, “loka” is the word for “world.” In music, Loka is a small marching band like ensemble that records experimental music on the legendary London label, Ninja Tune.

The term experimental is broad but to narrow it down does not give Loka justice. Started as a studio experiment between Mark Kyriacou and Karl Webb, the group now boasts a complete horn section along with more conventional instruments like bass, guitar, and drums. Because of their make up, the group has the versatility to experiment in the realms of jazz, classical, psychedelia, and others. Take the opening track, “As the Tower Falls” for example. The track is nearly seven minutes and cover a multitude of genres. It begins with spoken word over dissonant keyboards before drums kick in and horns enter. As the track wears on, crunchy electric guitar enters the mix. At first, it sounds like a jazz club is being invaded by metal being blasted from a car stopped at a red light outside but as the song continues on, the heavier elements take over. The song quickly become chaotic until it crescendos then the last minute of the track is spent with a classical piano cool down period.
If it sounds complex, that’s because it is but that seems to be the trademark of Loka. Passing Place is not the kind of album you can put on in the background and forget about. If you do that, you are sure to miss it. This is the type of album that must be really study to “get it.” It is a crap shoot how many people will actually care to do that, but those that do should find it quite rewarding.
Rating: 7.3/10 - Surviving The Golden Age

"Loka - Passing Place"

Hailed as “cult psychedelicists [and] purveyors of cinematic music that…intrigues rather than comforts,” Loka elude any traditional genre tags. Passing Place, the otherworldly new album released via Ninja Tune, follows the peerless sonic path begun in 2006 with Fire Shepherds. Preternatural rhythms, the Seindorf Beaumaris brass ensemble, vocals from Colombian singer Lido Pimienta, and the spellbinding arrangements evoke a score for a film-noir (or maybe a psychedelic western?) that has yet to be made, making this one of 2011's timeless full-lengths.

For music as evocative as Loka‘s, words can do no justice. Like the best soundtracks from Ennio Morricone to James Newton Howard, Passing Place is meant for focused listening, to score your next train journey across the country, or a lonely walk through a foggy park. Energy levels rise, moods swing, and stellar musicianship from every player involved makes for an engrossing listen. If you are traveling for the holidays, do not leave home without Passing Place on your preferred music device. - Street Date Radio

"Loka - Passing Place"

Emotive and downtempo'd Passing Place, the recent album release from Loka, is a widely expressive psych-trip infused with classic jazz and a strong film soundtrack feel to the whole record.

The album begins with the slow pulsating introduction of 'Entrance' as it's smooth rising sound gives way to an eery acapella siren song of female vocals that roll into the second track 'As The Tower Fall'. This is a spoken word number over a composition akin to Zelda or Final Fantasy. The vocals throughout the album are something truly inspiring. Not exactly an album to sing-a-long with but one of atmospheric grace that develops the emotion and deep sentiments that Loka are about.

'Sam Star' and 'The Beauty in Darkness' highlight this vocal prowess in abundance. 'Sam Star' is heavily melodic in it's introduction and rises and falls with chanting vocals and the smashing cymbals in it's climax which make the track hit as hard on the ear drums as it pulls on the heart strings before breaking down and rolling slowing to a close. Followed by 'The Beauty in Darkness', an eight and a half minute (or six and a half on the single release) trip-hop jazz odyssey ending with up-tempo psychedelic rock, this track is certainly one of the highlights of the album.

Starting with 'Entrance' it's only fitting the album ends with 'Exit'. The organ and horns give this song a 'Last Post' vibe making clear the end of the album is nigh. On the whole, the album is structurally sound without a moments filler and makes me wonder why this Liverpool psych-jazz ensemble are not wider known. - Altsoundsdotcom

"Loka - Passing Place"

“Cinematic” is a music review cliché, but at times there’s no more appropriate word. Loka’s Passing Place begs the branding, being as it is very, well, cinematic: often instrumental, augmented by sweeping horn arrangements, carrying moods to great effect, and giving you the choice of focusing in or simply zoning out (there’s a Family Fodder song, “Film Music,” that sums up this wallpaper effect: “Film music/It’s empty/It pleases me/Come and see”).

Loka’s particular brand of film music is equal parts space jazz-fusion, post-rock jam, prog-rock flourish, and spy-movie soundtrack. “The Tower” is all Italian symphonic prog, sounding like an outtake from a ’70s PFM album, flute leads and all. “Temporary External” marries a loose jazz swing with arpeggiated vintage Philip Glass-isms. Standout track “Sam Star” mines the same psychedelic esotery as Broadcast, with gentle melody and a ponderous lurch.

The recording is quite pristine—the group worked with Thighpaulsandra (Julian Cope, Spirtualized, Coil) to dial things in, and the result is an enveloping, sonorous 50 minutes. Passing Place covers quite a bit of ground in that time, but what would cinema be without its establishing scenes, its ups and downs, its third acts? All are present here on Passing Place, and the ride is quite pleasant. Now if you’ll begin passing the popcorn....

Author rating: 7/10 - Under The Radar

"Loka - Passing Place"

Loka are a band who are happy to take it easy, at least in some senses. They've been hiding in the dark folds of the Ninja Tune roster for at least ten years and in all that time they've released only two albums and to little fanfare, scorning the hype machine. I've heard them described as 'criminally under the radar', which may mean that they're using their music as a front for smuggling coke. Still, if it is a front, it's a very convincing one. Folks keep calling Loka a 'cult psychedelic' act and - sure - that's one of their tricks, but only one trick in a very big bag of 'em. That psych rock and pop shares space with a thoroughly, thrillingly energetic jazz music - you'll hear it on the big tune up the front of the new album, Passing Place, called As The Tower Falls. The rhythmic drive and arpeggiated harmonies are incredibly reminiscent of the work of fellow Ninja Tuners Jagga Jazzist. Both groups feature large memberships to help realise these sounds: Jagga Jazzist has eight members, while Loka counts within it's ranks the entire Seindorf Beaumaris brass band; I'm not quite sure how many folks are in that, but band photos of Loka are crowded, to say the least. Both the psych and the jazz are worked into a background that sounds thoroughly cinematic. Loka takes time to balance out the jazz highs or densely rocking numbers like single Sam Star with quiet, moody moments such as the wistful and melancholy sounds of The Art Of Burning Bridges or The Sound Stars make. Co-founder Karl Webb departed Loka before they embarked on this current album, but his partner Mark Kyriacou sounds like he was never short of material or inspiration. Loka are a thoroughly unusual beast in the modern music scene and if they only put out one album every five years, it just gives you more to look forward to. I'm going to play you that hair-raising jazz number As The Tower Falls, which features also a delicious spoken-word contribution from Loka's vocalist Eleanor Mante, hope you like it as much as I do. - 4ZZZ

"Loka - Passing Place"

LOKA – Passing Place PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 23 January 2012

Electronica whiz kids collide with horn sections, flutes and funky psych

Although you could broadly describe Loka’s new album Passing Place as a rather chic downtempo record with its hazy shuffling beats and distinctly chilled demeanour, there are elements from various genres thrown into the sonically rich mix. The group have clearly listened to their fair share of John Barry and Roy Budd film scores, as The Tower and the brooding orchestral sweep of The Art Of Burning Bridges illustrate. The album blends elements of psychedelia and jazz with hushed diva vocals. It also makes supposedly incongruous elements work well together – like Salvation Army brass over the top of fuzz guitar and proggy time changes in The Beauty In Darkness. By penultimate track Mirror Image Opposite, the group are employing harmony vocals, swinging jazz beats, ever-present flute and BBC Radiophonic-style electronica. Like many chilled-out records, Passing Place can become muzak when played as background noise, but becomes considerably more interesting when due attention is paid – even more so if listened to through headphones.


MATT THROWER - Rave Magazine


My Life’s in these Bottles (Xen Cuts 2000)
Beginningless EP (2003)
Blockhead - Sunday Séance – Loka remix (2004)
Fire Shepherds LP (2006)
The Beauty in Darkness (edit) (Ninja Tune XX 2010) Temporary External EP (November 2011)
Passing Place LP (November 2011)



Loka is an ever evolving band, drawing on influences from jazz to classical to BBC Radiophonic to 60’s psychedelia and much more.

Loka released their first EP ‘Beginningless’ in 2003 and their first album ‘Fire Shepherds’ followed in 2006 both released through Ninja Tune. Loka is evolving, but continues its compelling and innovative journey which is immune to trend. The eagerly awaited second album ‘Passing Place’, due for release in November 2011, is beautifully dark and disorientating with haunting vocals and brass interludes. Passing Place features an array of guest musicians and vocalists all complimented by a complete brass section from the welsh brass band Beaumaris Seindorf Band.

Loka evolved from studio experiments between Mark Kyriacou and Karl Webb back in 1999. The duo signed to the Ninja Tune label a year later and their first track 'My Life's In These Bottles' appeared on Ninja Tune's 'Xen Cuts' Compilation. The single 'Beginningless' followed, and in 2006 Loka released their debut album 'Fire Shepherds' to rave reviews. Gigs and a radio session for Giles Peterson's Radio 1 show followed, as well as a live performance at the Colchester Signals Film Festival (Signals embarked on a big video competition) and a headline performance at the jazz night of the Liverpool Music Week. Loka also took on remixing duties on Blockhead's seminal track 'Sunday Séance', turning it into a breathtaking 6 minute full on live jazz drum-orchestrated epic. Loka have also toured in Canada and Europe.

Since the Fire Shepherds album in 2007, co-founder Karl Webb left Loka, leaving Mark Kyriacou to carry the Loka banner. Mark re-grouped with members of the Loka live set up, and went about sketching out ideas later to become Passing Place. The initial sketches were knocked out in 2008 in a rented rehearsal space in the old Big Issue building in Liverpool. These sketches were then taken to Thighpaulsandra’s (of Julian Cope, Spiritualised and Coil fame) Aeriel studios in the depths of South West Wales for colouring in. Thighpaulsandra played an integral part to the making of the album as he engineered, co-produced and assisted in the scoring out of the brass band layers. Once the foundations were recorded the additional layers were added over the following year. The album was mixed and completed back at Aeriel Studios.Passing Place is the new full length album by Loka. The album features Vocals by Columbian Lido Pimiento, Canadian Eleanor Mante and Welsh vocalist Jaci Williams. The Welsh Brass Band ‘Beaumaris Seindorf Band’, and other guest musicians provide the woven additional layers.

Loka current live line up consists of founder member Mark Kyriacou (keyboards, electronics and compositions), Tom Sumnall (bass), Ian ‘Budgie’ Jones (drums) Stu MacDonald (guitar) Jaci Williams, Claire Pilling (vocals) and Ray Dickaty (flute and sax).