Boomkat Product Review:
In the shimmering wake of The Boats’ boxset, Andrew Hargreaves tends to his Tape Loop Orchestra alias with the poignant, revenant symphony Held To The Light, which forms the latest in this excellent, limited-run series.
Originally conceived for a performance in Chicago and later re-arranged as this extended studio version, Held Against The Light peals with a rare soreness that speaks to severed connections.
What starts with an almost liturgical layering of voices and strings gradually decomposes into a lonely vapour trail, growing in intensity and distortion before once again reaching a meditative space, this time punctuated by plucked bass notes. We’re transported from some of TLO’s most radiant, voluminous energies to a saturation point where it all begins to decay.
We can only assume that this is a figurative manifestation of what TLO means in the accompanying text, “once the lines to the etheric have been crossed, call on the flow of knowledge contained in the infinite light, which reaches every plane of existence" as the piece’s harmonic structure begins to fall in on itself and resolve from internalised feelings to exigent sorrow and finally an upward sweep into higher frequencies of understanding and empathy, as opposed to literally higher sonic registers.
Those in search of beautiful modern classical/drone works that steer clear of heavy-handed emotional signposts should investigate without delay, especially if you’re into works by William Basinski, Stars of The Lid, Deathprod, GAS etc.