Throughout the last two years of writing and recording, I’ve consistently gone back to a handful of records as references, and to that end I’ve probably listened to Dots And Loops more than any other. This may come as a surprise to some, given that D&L has a reputation for being Stereolab’s jazz influenced album, and a decidedly breezy one at that. To be fair, I think that the “jazz” label is only true by half; instead, what I hear when I listen to Dots And Loops is a wonderfully strange pop record, one which bridges the gap between electronic and acoustic sounds better than anything in Stereolab’s catalog.
A lot of qualities that I love about Stereolab’s music are things that I’ve written about before with respect to Steve Reich; specifically, I love how they contrast structural minimalism with compositional maximalism—ie: repetitive songs that become more and more dense over time. And the way that The Groop handles production, editing, and mixing on Dots And Loops is particularly fantastic. Here, live instruments sound strangely electronic and otherwise processed, while synthesizers take on more muted tones. It’s a thrilling, fascinating conceit that has given me a strong sense of how to approach the production of my own songs.
Part of the reason I am so excited about working at Soma Studios (we will be mixing one half of our LP there this weekend) is that some of the work on this record was completed there—my hope is that we can tease similar peculiarities out of our own music as was done on Dots And Loops.
Fingers = crossed.