Tape Loop Orchestra’s brand-new Returning series – which consists of Awakening Reincorporation and Becoming Thinking Flesh – follows on from 2019’s Interiors series and explores the links between mind / body consciousness and how consciousness affects our individual interactions with the wider, outside world.
The music of Awakening Reincorporation is slow and patient, with ethereal sighs and an undercurrent of percussion dully and regularly thumping against the ground it stands on, almost like a physical heartbeat as it merges with a spiritual drone which traces and runs through the music, as if it were mapping out the geography of the soul. Mental states can shape and influence the perception of the outside world – positive or negative or neutral. Inner walls affect outer surroundings and how we interact with others, as well as the environment. Those interactions can shape and affect someone else, either brightening or destroying a day or a week or a month or a year or a decade or a life, and the music is balanced, careful in its response and its running dialogue.
The first track, ‘Awakening’, hardly opens its eyes, and the percussion is able to breathe thanks to its slower tempo. The track wakes up after a deep sleep, and Reincorporation continues in the same vein, drifting and hovering between the two states of being, occupying a thin gap between the two dimensions. A choir echoes from a distant and physically-unobtainable place, emerging from a secret plane where teleportation is made possible through the unconscious travel of sleep and the deep focus of meditation. Music itself isn’t visible, but it still occupies and influences the air which swirls around it. Music has a positive impact on the physical body (dancing, increased activity), and the wellbeing of the mind (the release of dopamine). Everything is connected, and Tape Loop Orchestra’s music invests a lot of time in exploring the concepts of thought, consciousness, and how it can shape reality.
‘Becoming’ features an alien form of percussion which radiates and staggers outwards in a series of fine fins and small, wave-like arches; it’s an anomaly, an echoing blip on the sonar. A distant choir and a sustained vocal make for reverent music with a deep respect for the magic of consciousness, and the music sinks into a trance with echoing, out-of-reach drums and wavering ambient-drones. ‘Thinking Flesh’ seems to take on an active body, not a mere thought but transforming into a physical, breathing being. One can hear the music breathing, taking in oxygen, the blood circulating in its veins, pumping around the heart and extending into the musculature. The drum becomes a heartbeat, and the music shapeshifts into an entity. It awakens. In focusing on the self, the music turns insular, but infinite possibilities are present when exploring the outer reaches of consciousness, and because of that, the music goes beyond, brightening and forever expanding.
‘Have we become adrift in a solitary web, slowly becoming strangers to ourselves? Focusing on the optimization of our minds but disregarding our bodies? Now is the time to reconcile our inner and outer realities and return to our bodies to become the whole thinking flesh that we in fact are’.