Andy Loebs – Hyperlink Anamorphosis
4.17.23 by Matty McPherson
Loebs is BACK! They didn’t even have a moment to swea–or chomp down a Gatorade for the electrolytes! Coming only half a year after their stellar Orange Milk debut, this new Hyperlink Anamorphosis tape is both new-time shifting R&D as much as a genuine jumping refinement of Loebs’ palette. The liner notes make it clear: about 11 slices of music akin to “second-hand Second Life glitching” or “any % speedrun challenges” across 22 minutes of 2022 live performances from house shows and wherever Loebs was being given full reign of control.
If you don’t know those liner notes, then you may mistake the crispness of these DAW cuts for new Loebs compositions. And the fella’s been seriously figuring out that psychedelic bliss tempo range. Culling from a bag of electronic developments less based in precise rhythms or synchronous drum tempos, Loebs style is ever-present vibe shifts between haptic sounds and what constructivist affect layering instrumentation can reveal. Future funk smackdown here, gabber rail grinding there, a little broken orchestra from just outside the normal, oh and one of those footwork synths that you might as well glide down; this is all just there in the opener Trolley Portal. Every element comes together at the finale, before fizzling out with finesse, enough so that you can seriously lose track of where you are on the tape. This is a benefit to the approach in my opinion, allowing for Loebs to maintain immense hustle and their galaxy brain bag of ideas.
The little fella HUSTLES in compositions like “The Back of the Router” (which its jumpy “HEY!”s) and “Hypertext Reponder”’s major-keg BIG SOUND under sizzlzing drum n’ bass. There’s a progression towards synthpunk sugar rush rushing into the red on (the brilliant fucking titled) “$5-10 Suggested Donation (notaflof),” a cut that fries the bass and turns the synths into subway trains that seem to be just around the corner.
That being said, it’s those pieces near the end that are of immense note. The B-Side itself is a little more airy, with only arpeggios of bleeps keeping a stable reference across the field recording fuckery of “The Word for World.” Even as gamer gabber grab bags light the way, it’s the “Oblique Zing” and “Scenic Overlook” where Andy stretches their noise muscles a tad. You see it a bit during the A-side, when small dispatches of airy synthetic silence pull you out from the mania, but these two together really hit at the haptic overload. Both sound as if Andy just decided to pivot HARD into ZXS Spectrum computer building, but forgot to install the RAM and took a field recorder to whatever alien noises plopped out of there! It suggests a new versatility to Loebs’ bag of tricks.
As much as the versatility of the noise on this tape is such a draw, Hyperlink Anamorphosis’ brevity gives it a walloping punch that also revels in listening repeatedly while on the move. I spent the end of March back in Knoxville for Big Ears, at an airbnb walking distance from Downtown. This became a walking tape on Thursday morning. With cheap headphones in my ears, I quickly realized that there’s incredible potential for Loebs’ sound to bounce off urban zones. The sirens of a real ambulance almost felt within the piece, as did the chipper birds at a crossing, and even the low drone of a car revving or generator a building away. Hyperlink Anamorphosis DOES sounds like 2023 in all its almost-cybernetic glory; a fact that Skye Butchard also brilliantly noted in a piece for the Quietus this month. And I should know! I saw Kate NV performing her own hyperrealist compositions that Loebs equally stands toe to toe with. Could you imagine that?! The russo pop princess and Loebs in a DJ battle of wits? Oh goodness what a dream! I’ll go ahead and get the house show guest list all set up, you can DM me for the address, just $5-10 notaflof.
Pair with a local honey ale and bbq chicken sammich served on a hot dog bun; fries applicable! Edition of 200 available from Jolt Recordings!