Some Of These Numbers Mean Something reviewed by Michael Peters on Loopers Delight

I just had the chance to put my headphones on and listen really closely to Darkroom's newest album, enigmatically called 'Some Of These Numbers Mean Something'.

Darkroom (, as you all know, are LD members Michael Bearpark on guitars and loops and Andrew "Os" Ostler on keyboards and laptop. Guest musician on this album is electric drummer Andrew Booker who runs the Improvizone concert series in London - Darkroom + Andrew Booker are Improvizone's backbone and play on most of their gigs, often with guest musicians (e.g. I had the privilege to play with them last November, see the livelooping2007 page on my website). Usually, Os controls his own Augustus Loop plugin to loop not only his synths but also Mike's guitar while sending a clock signal to Andrew for the drums so that he can synchronize his drum delays, to add further rhythmical complexity.

btw two weeks ago I was very happy to see Mike Bearpark and Andrew Booker as part of singer Tim Bowness's band No-Man on the German leg of their September mini-tour - they did a wonderful job and it was a great evening.

The new Darkroom album ("file under Ambient Stadium Rock") contains nine improvised pieces. Mike's guitars are generally in the foreground - so much that the original album title was "place guitar under microscope". What strikes me every time I listen to Darkroom, and also on this album, is their specific sound: it is an organic whole - evolving, open, and full of rich textures while often containing surprising changes. There is never extensive soloing - maybe that would stand out too much and is therefore sacrificed for the sake of a more organic group sound. While Os contributes beautiful, often cinematic washes of chords, the complex and energetic rhythmic foundation laid down by Andrew Booker and the various distortion sounds often applied to Mike's guitars turn the Darkroom sound into something that often definitely goes beyond mere ambient music. Ambient with teeth, maybe.

My absolute favorite on this one is "No Candy No Can Do" which combines gorgeous Rhodes arpeggios, Hawaiian guitars and dreamy, unusual dub-like rhythms - this track is drenched in reverb and reminds me very much of 50's exotica, not so much because of the sound but because it immedately switches on images of faraway islands in my brain. Wonderful!

Buy this album today from

- Michael (
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