1997, Music

Dots and Loops (1997) by Stereolab

Stereolab do their thing. It’s a very particular thing that sounds like no one else and, for that, they should be commended. They invented this kind of fusion of lounge, krautrock and pop, and that’s to their credit.

But if you don’t like their sound, or if you don’t like some of the things they fuse together (as I do not), one Stereolab album starts to sound a lot like the next. I have admittedly listened to this a lot less than Emperor Tomato Ketchup but, to my ears, it sounds an awful lot like that record. I’m not sure I like the music enough to spend time on the nuances between that album and this one, or between other Stereolab albums. If it doesn’t do anything for me (and, usually, it does not), it’s hard to get emotionally invested enough to spend the time to hear an actual evolution, if there is one.

I always struggle with these bands with such defined sounds because my mind is always searching for that evolutionary step, whether or not that makes any sense. I don’t think I hear one here (having not listened to Emperor Tomato Ketchup in some time).

But, all of that being said, they do what they do, they do it well and it’s hard to criticize them for that. I get why people love them. I don’t though. I want some more distortion in my life, or some quirk that isn’t so cutesy.


All tracks written by Tim Gane and Lætitia Sadier, except where indicated.

  1. “Brakhage” 5:30
  2. “Miss Modular” 4:29
  3. “The Flower Called Nowhere” 4:55
  4. “Diagonals” 5:15
  5. “Prisoner of Mars” 4:03
  6. “Rainbo Conversation” 4:46
  7. “Refractions in the Plastic Pulse” (Gane, Ramsay, Sadier) 17:32
  8. “Parsec” 5:34
  9. “Ticker-Tape of the Unconscious” 4:45
  10. “Contronatura” 9:03
  • Lætitia Sadier – vocals
  • Tim Gane – guitar
  • Mary Hansen – guitar, vocals
  • Richard Harrison – bass
  • Morgane Lhote – keyboards
  • Andy Ramsay – drums
  • Sean O’Hagan – piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Farfisa organ
  • Rebecca McFaul – strings
  • Shelley Weiss – strings
  • Poppy Branders – strings
  • Maureen Loughnane – strings
  • Paul Mertens – brass
  • Dave Max Crawford – brass
  • Jeb Bishop – brass
  • Ross Reed – brass
  • Xavier “Fischfinger” Fischer – piano
  • John McEntire – synthesizer, percussion, vibraphone, marimba, production, engineering, mixing
  • Douglas McCombs – acoustic bass
  • Andi Toma – electronic percussion, sound effects, production, engineering, mixing
  • Jan St. Werner – sound effects, insect horns, engineering
  • M. Stamm – engineering

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