Uèle Lamore’s debut LP is a distillation of an artistic spirit that knows few boundaries. The French-American creator works in the contemporary classical world, as Associate Conductor of the adventurous London Contemporary Orchestra. The ensemble features here, but LOOM is much more than an orchestral project. Crossover is too narrow a description – instead, the LP arches over indie, rock, techno, classical and synthy soundworlds in a collection of contradictory tracks.
Lamore is magpie-like in her gathering of sounds and influences. Through Gene Pool’s haunted two-step, Predation’s nervous techno and the very 80s vocoders of Currents, you struggle to anticipate what might happen next. The album feels like a cluster of sketches, some filled in, others rendered more sparsely, and all rather different.
The more detailed creations fare better. Rapper Gracy Hopkins’ gravelly delivery on The Last Tree offers a sombre and introspective escapade, with trap snares fluttering in the background as the harmonic ground shifts beneath his feet. Cherise’s voice slots into Pollen’s gently bobbing haze, while lead single The Dark is LOOM in a nutshell: all crystalline synths, live percussion and slow moving but well-populated textures.
Maintaining the low-level intensity of Lamore’s ambient starting point is tricky, and there are moments when LOOM sags. Breathe’s synthy indie-pop is one dimensional and her orchestral writing leans on the filmic, leaving corners of that universe unexplored. But this gives Lamore space to grow and experiment with the sweeping sounds she’s made her name with.