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Discordant, elusive, and utterly hypnotic, Loop conjured a dark, trance-like spell that contrasted sharply with the prevailing British pop music trends of their time. Equal parts the Stooges, Can, and Hawkwind, they resurrected the concept of space rock for a new era in tandem with fellow travelers Spacemen 3, creating droning soundscapes of bleak beauty and harsh dissonance. Loop were formed in London in 1986 by vocalist/guitarist Robert Hampson, who at the time of the group's inception claimed to know only four chords. With wife Bex (Becky Stewart) on drums and Glen Ray on bass, they debuted with the single "16 Dreams," its raw, feedback-powered sound offering clear evidence of a serious garage fixation. New drummer John Wills and bassist Neil MacKay were signed on a short time later, with their arrival heralding a more primal rhythmic foundation. The reconfigured Loop then issued their 1987 full-length debut, Heaven's End, winning acclaim for its densely distorted sound. The World in Your Eyes, a collection of singles and B-sides, appeared in 1987. After signing to the Chapter 22 label, Loop resurfaced in 1988 with the 12" Collision. In November of that same year, Loop also released their second full-length, the excellent Fade Out. Over a year passed before the band returned to action with the Arc-Lite single, now sporting not only another new label, Situation 2, but also a second guitarist, Scott Dawson. After issuing their third and finest studio LP, 1990's A Gilded Eternity, Loop disbanded. A series of posthumous releases, among them the live Dual and the BBC sessions collection Wolf Flow, soon followed. In the wake of the band's demise, its four members split into two camps -- while MacKay and Wills reunited in the Hair & Skin Trading Company, Hampson and Dawson went on to form the highly experimental Main. Loop's catalog slid out of print during the '90s, but it was comprehensively reissued on the band's Reactor label in 2008. Five years later, the band -- Hampson, Wills, MacKay, and Dawson -- reconvened for touring and co-curated the lineup for the "End of an Era, Pt. 2" portion of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival at Camber Sands in East Sussex, England. Dates followed through May 2014, when the band performed in Barcelona at another festival, Primavera Sound. Later that year, Hampson assembled a new lineup that featured guitarist Dan Boyd, bassist Hugo Morgan, and drummer Wayne Maskel. Through ATP, the label offshoot of All Tomorrow's Parties, the band issued new recordings, beginning with Array 1 in June 2015. The release coincided with a handful of live dates, including several in the U.K. and one in Iceland. ~ Jason Ankeny
1986 in London, England
'80s, '90s, '10s