As the title suggests, something truly seems to be looming over you as you experience this collage of glitchy and harrowing sounds. Katie Gately crafts a centerpiece of suffering across Loom, as the echoed and whispered vocals wash over you along with the intense and gloomy sonic background. Tracks like Allay will haunt with their massive sound while tracks like Waltz will have a similar effect while shifting the pace to (you guessed it) a 3/4 time signature. Regardless of pace, the theme of the album is immediately one filled with dread and pain.
The centerpiece of the album, Bracer, at its massive ten minute time span, immediately feels like one of the most shaking tracks of the entire year. The background sounds are genuinely spooky early on, and the focus on Gately's voice builds slowly as the instrumentals take on additional weight. As her lyrics start to take on a repetitive tone, singing "sin sin sin sin sin for the win" the music becomes even more eclectic and jarring as the sound becomes massive and overwhelming, only to then shift once again to a piano focus. This is only the halfway point of the song, Over the next five minutes the song rebuilds itself once again as Gately continues layering even more sound in, even more reverberating vocals, even more intensity. This song alone is a clear highlight; one of the most blistering tracks I've heard in a long time, and easily the most vicious and evocative experimental music of the entire year.
To follow up Bracer honestly would be an impossible feat, given the sheer level of time placed on this one track. Rite at that point serves as a transitional piece of woozy and dizzying sound. Tower then takes its own shape with a hard percussive slow blow, serving up yet another spectral wall of sound that grabs you by the neck. In a mere minute the weight of the world lays on you and makes you genuinely uncomfortable, right until it lets go of its grasp only to haunt you even further. Music to be haunted by, through and through.
The album closes with the tracks Flow and Rest. Flow feels like it was recorded within the confines of a cathedral, almost offering up the only peace left in the world. It's the most hopeful and ethereal sounding Gately sounds up to this point in her tone, yet still comes with burdens and sonic pressure. Rest wraps up Loom with a final feeling of peace, the vocals glistening and vibrating with the thick production.
One can only imagine the kind of album Gately would have crafted had it not been for the passing of her mother in 2018 that led to the revamp of the album she had already created. The idea that something so impactful, something so chilling, yet something so graceful could come from these experiences is a continuous testament of the art that experimental music can explore. The pain of Gately is the focal point of Loom, and the weight of these experiences are held on the shoulders of those who experience this record.
Favorite track: Bracer