Loop Madness

or just…madness

While the Loop Madness show certainly did exhibit some experimental elements, some songs would have been best left out of the showcase.

The event was on May 16 at Lombard Pub, featuring experimental, loop-based artists from Portland. When the event started, one of the men picked up a guitar and began to strum similar notes over and over. He pressed various foot pedals as he played, recording himself solo over his looped notes. He introduced himself as the event’s organizer, AKA the Exosphere Project.

His performance was if Mazzy Star’s soft, extended notes and Santana’s riffs got together to create a jam sesh sound bath, it would sound like this.

Five men approached the stage and began to play without being introduced. The band later revealed itself to be Yannica Set, bringing a whole two synths, an electric guitar, a set of bongos, a trombone and last but not least, an electric violin in tow. It was unclear whether they were trying to play some kind of neo-freeform jazz or if they just weren’t at all on the same page.

These five played their instruments like they were experimenting by themselves in soundproof rooms. At one point, the man with the electric violin began to play it like an acoustic guitar. If any content creators are out there producing something with rhythm or maybe a melody, Yannica Set will make them feel good about their SoundCloud.

However, for six consecutive minutes, they did make something that sounded kind of similar to music—not that the standards were particularly high, it just had a recognizable, repeated rhythm in the background. The rest of the band started to fade out as the shoeless man in front of the bongos took over. Someone recorded him playing the bongos and produced a continuous loop of it. Then, the drummer pulled out a recorder—the plastic wannabe flute—and started going ham over a loop of his bongo drumming for a few solid minutes.

23 Suns followed, a two-piece who played a short and sweet set of just one long song. It sounded like a sci-fi film score, which was much more convincingly like music than Yannica Set, but not by much.

The next act was introduced as Clodewerks, though Clodewerks clarified himself as merely Kyle. He played complex trumpet remixes over assorted beats. “Let’s kick it up a little notch,” he said before switching the beat to something faster. Akin to Marian Hill but a one-man, jazzier act, Kyle made the trumpet look cooler than it is.

The night ended with Antemano, another one-man band. For the first 10 minutes of the set, the audience assumed his mic was off, but after asking him to adjust his amps multiple times, it became apparent he just really liked screaming. He was the first and only vocalist of the night, so-called singing in Spanish over a cherry red electric guitar, a bass guitar and a synth. His music definitely sounded like it was from the ‘80s, but closer to the hard-hitting Depeche Mode than bubbly Taylor Dayne.

The night ended without a bang—there was no signifier that the event was over except that no one jumped up to fill the empty space on stage. Antemano thanked the crowd, just like he had after each of his songs, but this time everyone collectively stood up.

The music got increasingly better as the night went on, and even though the songs by the end were still a bit discordant, it still sounded believably like music.