Looping is a growing trend in music that everyone should keep their eye on. I am not, of course, referring to a movie where Cobra Commander attempts to kill John McClane. I’m referring to the technical repetition of sound which allows one or two people to craft the sound of many both in studio and live. Looping is used by, most famously, Radiohead, Jamie Lidell and Imogen Heap. See a trend? They’re all out there sounds formulated around experimentation and usually odd vocals. None really venture into “Rock” per se, but I attribute that to simply being a frightening avenue to travel.
For one Santa Ana, California based duo, well, they’re not afraid. Time & Energy (the name which has been taken by Jorge Rios and Brennan Roach), coins themselves as “Loop Based Rock,” which means we’re essentially getting experimental rock right? Hasn’t that already been done?
Not quite like this.
Though it should be mentioned that Time & Energy’s Strange Kind of Focus is not hard rock, it definitely picks up the pace and pushes the looping limits; they’re also kind enough to throw in some cowbell. The ten track album is a conscious, understandable version of Radiohead or Radiohead with a less acid-trip feel. Their melodic variance accompanied by quirky synth breakdowns is a palatable experimentation and, let’s face it, an all-around fun album. Tracks like “Tree Salad” and “DaDaDa” are memorable and fun, the later peaking at a more aggressive style that pays off greatly. With a varying pace, Strange Kind of Focus elaborates on just what Rios and Roach are capable of. They show their softer side with “Sitting On a Scale,” then turn right around and spike a funky/protesting mechanic into the album with “O’Molly”. The record never tips the scale at overbearing and it doesn’t lose you, which is a huge compliment to their vision.
For the techies out there, and partially my inner production fanatic, Time & Energy make it all possible with the help of a Boss RC-300 and have been known to intertwine an RC 50, RC 2O and RC 2.
For those less interested in what they’re plugging into, I leave you with this: Strange Kind of Focus is an artistically dynamic record formed around an attention to detail while being played out by two very talented individuals. Or, there are enough layers here that you’ll need a backhoe to dig yourself out after you get buried in the looping madness.