There are plenty of good producers floating around out there, throw a metaphorical brick around these parts and you’re almost guaranteed to hear it bouncing catchily off of an instrumental album which at the very least is decent. Mr Loop, however, is amongst the best and not just because his sampled style genuinely rings out as smart, intricate and interesting regardless of the lyrics laid over them.
The reason why there’s been a streak of top end releases like The Bury All, Music from the Tannhauser Gate and The Crow isn’t just that Mr Loop’s good at what he does, although that certainly helps, it’s that unlike a whole army of aspiring producers out on the fringes, he actually finds and works with the right people. All the usual complaints about the artistry of the production being mired in cheap, lazy or clichéd flows are silenced when it comes to Mr Loop. Even where I’ve been less than stunned by the vocal contributions, as was the case on The Crow with the Kojak Brothers there’s still an awareness coming up from the beat of what works for the rapper and what doesn’t.
‘ZooLoops’, with its Zulu stylings, astute observational lyricism and genuinely worth while concepts is another milestone for the man who’s probably my most consistent favourite in the scene. Mr Loop’s contributions vary between exotic, intricate drifts which define a track without overwhelming it and more muted, unassuming beats which stand up as something interesting without detracting from Mark’s flow. It’s a more complex exercise than The Crow, more eclectic in it’s flourishes and deeper even in it’s simpler beats, in fact it’s closer to the Tannhauser Gates despite the slightly more laid back and analytical feel given by Mark’s contributions here.
Not to let my fanboy-ism for Mr Loop take over too much though Mark from the Zoo makes a definite impact here on the vocal front. At times feeding through well structured and undoubtedly intelligent ideas and flows there’s also a slightly defeated element of empathy in there where the topic gets more personal. Tracks like ‘Hot and Cold’ and ‘Bella’ mix a knack for story telling with the sort of slightly faulted delivery which grants humanity to proceedings by letting the imperfect show. Especially impressive when they’re followed by more detached, dissecting flows on other tracks where the ideas themselves are poetically presented without any undue emphasis.
The downside? None really, between stand out tracks like ‘Cathedrals and Cobblestones’ and others I’ve mentioned already there are tracks which on pretty much any other album would have stood out clearly themselves. It would, perhaps, have been nice to see some of the ideas conjured up by Mr Loop given more space to develop but wanting more is hardly a fault. And again it’s testament to the quality that comes with every Loop associated release that any possible criticism is superceded by simply wanting more.