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Looper 

The Geometrid

Better known as the bassist for Scottish folk pop sensations Belle & Sebastian, Stuart David, like any good band member, is only partially content with his contributions to his primary group. With more songs and ideas than there was room in B&S, David, his wife Karn, and his brother Ronnie Black banded together to create a techno-driven multimedia musical collective called Looper. The band's name works on a couple of different levels, referring to someone who loops in the sample-and-repeat sense of the word and also to its Scottish slang definition, which roughly translates to "crazy person." There are elements of both references in Looper's music.

On its sophomore album for SubPop, The Geometrid, David and Company continue to create an amazing pop hybrid -- namely, a fascinating blend of techno beats with the warmth and invitation of a purer and more populist brand of pop music. Using samples and loops as effectively as real instruments, the Davids meld them all into an engaging and very humanistic pop package, sort of a Scottish Beck without the alternative angst.

There's plenty to love about The Geometrid, from the clever and unorthodox instrumentation on "Modem Song" to the all-too-brief Devo/Pixies mania of "Puddle Monkey," the Kraftwerk-inspired "Bug Rain," and the joyous, techno-soul blurt of "Money Hair." There are blips and drones galore in the Looper world, enough to satisfy any techno purist, but there's a wonderfully edgy balance between the mechanical side of the genre and its more accessibly structured pop counterparts. With The Geometrid, Looper has managed to create a sound that is completely distinct from the lineage of Belle & Sebastian and yet still attached to its parent by virtue of its deep Scottish folk tradition.

More by Brian Baker

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