Your mother standing at the bottom of the stairs, what felt like always. Three a.m. at a high school party in some near-haunted house, half terrified of creaks in the floor and more than half of being in love. Watching some small bird flit across the highest rafters. Twentywhatever, stumbling through New York City, mania in your veins. These are the things that form you, that fill you with wonder and make the architecture of your memory. That imbue the present with significance, and that new experiences rattle around against as they settle into your psyche. Cloud Mountain is The Loom’s attempt to make that place out of sound, to capture how Loom songwriter John Fanning felt once in a moment outside the din, hard mountain under his feet, cloud ether all around him, suffusing the air the way memory does your mind. Hyperreal. Like stepping into your childhood home or your old lover’s bedroom; a million moments fitting the shape of one.
In making the record, the band worked with producer Kevin McMahon (Titus Andronicus, Real Estate), whose penchant for the hypnotic and the visceral matched the sound world they imagined would conjure this liminal space. Who pushed them further down the rabbit hole they’d been stumbling towards, just as his cavernous barn studio in upstate NY often mirrored the spirit of the songs. And they were also fortunate enough to enlist a number of admired collaborators in addition to McMahon, including Akron/Family’s Seth Olinsky and The Black Swans’ Jerry DeCicca. But most of all, they dug in. Long-standing itches fostered in the couple hundred shows that preceded the record became full-blown obsessions – with repetition, with noise, with beauty, with words upon words and the strange sounds between them endlessly trying and failing to capture the thing just so, with groove, with atmosphere, with organs stacked on organs, with guitars stacked on horns run through delay pedals. All of which in turn became the nine songs that make the record, became the thing that they’d been wanting to make since they started playing music together that had to rattle all around before it took its shape. Like hearing the sound of your father’s voice for years until one day you can suddenly hear the words. Or like all the moments that come before it on the record suddenly fitting back again through the pinhole of the album’s last line: “But the sun it still comes, and I’ll meet it at dawn, to tell it of all of the glory that once wandered here.” Cloud Mountain is the story they’ve tried to tell and the place that they’ve tried to make.