Loka, Plank!, Dominoes, Melodien: The Lomax, Liverpool

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Loka meld innovative psychedelia with Jodorowsky and Amon Düül – but why do they remain such an oddity in their home city, Getintothis’ Harry Sumnall reflects on a tour de force of kosmische music at the Lomax.


Loka are something of an oddity.

They have released two quite marvellous albums on Ninja Tune, toured North America, soundtracked video games, been produced and remixed by a whole host of talent, but haven’t really found their place in Liverpool’s music scene.

Not that Getintothis think this really matters; after all, our measure of success for most musical projects has largely determined by artists whose lack of recognition is inversely proportional to their sheer weirdness, creativity, and longevity of influence.
But in a city that is supposedly in thrall of psychedelic music it’s always struck us as unusual that a band that has consistently produced a supremely elegant, dense, and enveloping sound – for us, the essence of the psychedelic genre – haven’t been taken more to heart.
We suspect it’s perhaps because Loka‘s vision, and realisation, is a bit more complex than what we expect from such bands in the city, who typically take a backwards look at the genre.
But that’s an aside, tonight at this Kif & Kin showcase at the Lomax, Loka are really on form. With new singer, Manchester’s Eli Cripps, Loka have taken several steps forward in their musical development.
Always a supremely talented bunch live, Loka effortlessly mix brass, Jaki Liebezeit grooves, rolling bass, harpsichord, and samples into a grooving oblique session of highlights from albums Fire Shepherds and Passing Place.
Musical comparisons are difficult; there’s no one else in Liverpool, or even the UK, who currently sound like this, the best we can offer is Wolf City era Amon Düül, but even this doesn’t come close; perhaps the Tarot scene of Jodorowsky‘s Holy Mountain is better – ‘to know, to dare, to will, to be silent‘.

Plank! were one of my highlights of last year’s Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia.
As someone who has lived and breathed psychedelic music our whole life, in all its myriad forms, we found it difficult to consolidate the heavy rock bias of that day to my own wide interpretation and survey of contemporary psychedelia.
It was therefore a relief to listen to a band who had begun to create a sound something quite of their own; unique, exceptional and most definitely mind manifesting. We’re pleased that this feeling carried over to this evening, and while revisiting the highlights of last Summer’s fantastic Animalism, it was through new tracks, spanning cosmic disco, sound design, sequenced locked grooves, and occasionally *that* Dinger drumbeat, that Plank! demonstrated they are certainly going to be producing amazing music for a long time yet.

Dominoes seemed to have really found their sound lately.
Band leader Dominic Lewington is Faine Jade, Eden Ahbez, Tommy Hall, and Augustus Owsley Stanley III all wrapped into one and we really expect that over the next few years he will become Liverpool’s answer to Bobby Callender, legendary producer of late 60s obscurity The Way (First Book of Experience), that aimed to transcend human consciousness through delivery of a pantheistic vision of Buddha, Jesus, Shiva and a hippie boy called John.
The Dominoes band shone tonight, in particular drummer Michael Bennett, and when it comes time to finally Immanentizing the Eschaton, we know these guys will be providing the soundtrack.
Opening act Melodien were playing their first gig as a band, and while this lack of collective performance experience may have been evident in their first few tracks, they soon settled into their motorik synth and bass heavy kosmische-disco sound, and this short set suggested extremely interesting times ahead.

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