Land of the Loops
Land of the Loops is the recording and performance name of Boston, Massachusetts-area musician Alan Sutherland. From the early 1990s till present, Land of the Loops has been creating sample- and loop-heavy indierock-influenced electronica. With the difficulty of touring for a mostly one-man electronic music outfit, Land of the Loops has instead concentrated on album releases and licensed use of songs to gain exposure. Lately, Land of the Loops has been scoring modern dance performances for Lorraine Chapman The Company.
During his years studying art the University of Colorado in Boulder and meeting like-minded musicians (Steven, Explosion Robinson, Buckminster Fuzeboard) Alan developed an interest in low-fi home cassette recording. Central to this scene of bedroom musicians was fellow art student Steven Nereo, who founded the Slabco label, which would later release the first recordings of the Land of the Loops. Graduating in 1991, Alan's recording career got underway due to a present from his parents, an Ensoniq EPS 16 Plus sampler, which he picked out himself with help of Mark Brooks of influential Boulder band the Warlock Pinchers.
Settling in Denver, Colorado, and using his Capitol Hill apartment as a studio, Alan recorded several loop and sample driven cassette-only releases for Slabco, which at this point was operating out of Seattle, Washington. After Alan relocated to Brooklyn, New York, where he began a master's degree program in art education at the Pratt Institute, employees at Seattle's Up Records heard his second Land of the Loops cassette release, "Percival," leading to a recording deal with them. Being produced by Tucker Martine, many of the songs on "Percival" were reworked and for the first Up Records CD release, "Bundle of Joy" in 1996. Among the guest musicians on the album, two songs have vocals by Beat Happening's Heather Lewis. The CD had some success on college radio with the standout track and advance single, "Multi-family Garage Sale," being licensed by Miller Genuine Draft for a beer commercial.
After two EPs, "Refried Treats" (1997) and "Hurry Up and Wait" (1999), Land of the Loops released its second full-length album "Puttering About a Small Land" in 2000. The music for this album was mostly recorded at his mother's Lincoln, Massachusetts home, where he then lived while finishing up his master's degree thesis on a personally relevant subject, dyslexia and art. Besides the vocals of Heather Lewis, "Puttering About a Small Land" also features the Japanese singer Takako Minekawa. Without an obvious single, this release was not as commercially successful as "Bundle of Joy".
In an attempt to release music on every format, Up Records agreed to have a flexi-single printed for the single "Single Girl Summer Home" in 2001. One thousand singles were pressed and inserted in an issue of a "Jerome" 'zine created for the occasion by Denver artist Jeremy Havens. Not being a widely popular format, the number of singles sold was negligible, with the bulk of flexi-disks sitting in storage at Up Records.
With changes at Up Records due to the death of founder Chris Takino, Land of the Loops was no longer tied to that label. In a one-shot release on Bologna, Italy's unhip records, Land of the Loops put out one side of a 2-sided EP with Buckminster Fuzeboard in 2003. The Land of the Loops side contains the song "Sippy Cup", a guest remix by the band Tipsy called "Tippy Cup", and an infinite loop of bubble noises. This release is also the only Land of the Loops release that does not feature cartoon-y cover art drawn by Alan.
Commercial uses of music
With its first release on Up Records, the 7" single "Multi-family Garage Sale", Land of the Loops has been successful in licensing its music for commercial uses, with that song being used on a Miller Genuine Draft TV spot. Other music from the album containing the single, "Bundle of Joy", was used on projects from a TV commercial aired in Japan directed by Sofia Coppola to the first song, "Welcome (Back)" played on the first episode of HBO's The Sopranos. The song "Heidi Cakes" is played during the credits of Sofia Coppola's short Lick the Star. The album Bundle of Joy as a whole was used as the soundtrack for the movie Lover Girl starring Sandra Bernhard in 1997.
The album Bundle of Joy was featured in the 2000 movie, High Fidelity.
As of late, having switched from recording on a sampler to making music using a PC loaded with Cakewalk Sonar, Land of the Loops still records music. Besides finishing a song for the currently shelved "Casiocore 2004" compilation, Alan has several more finished songs and others sketched out for a future Land of the Loops release.
On top of his Land of the Loops work, Alan Sutherland has been working on soundscores for his wife Lorraine Chapman's Boston-based dance company LCTC. LCTC dancers performed "Hand Over the Head" to Sutherland's Japanese-inspired musical score as well as the soundscore for the show "The Floating World" in 2007.
List of recordings
- "Straight Out of Milner" Slabco 12
- "True Circles in Jig Time" with Explosion Robinson, Slabco 18
- "Percival" Slabco 23
- "Casiocore" (1994) with Steven and Explosion Robinson, Slabco 26
- "Multi-family Garage Sale/Rotate" (1995) UP011
- "Bundle of Joy" (1996) Up Records UP020
- "Refried Treats" (1997) Up Records UP031
- "Hurry Up and Wait" (1999) Up Records UP074
- "Puttering About a Small Land" (2000) Up Records UP080
- "Single Girl Summer Home (Duplex Mix)/Party Pooper (Pooper Scooper Mix by Buckminster Fuzeboard)" flexi-single (2000) UP092
- "Sippy Cup (featuring Tipsy)" (2003) with Buckminster Fuzeboard, unhip records
- Salaman, Jeff, "Garage Shock", Spin, October 1996, v. 12, n. 7
- Salaman, Jeff, "Garage Shock", Spin, October 1996, v. 12, n. 7.
- brblife.com Land of the Loops + Interview, Oct. 12, 2007.
- Kreslins, Laris, "Land of the Loops", The Sound Collector, 1997, n. 1, p. 34.
- Kreslins, Laris, "An Official Approximation of Slabco", The Sound Collector, 1997, n. 1, p. 28.
- Kreslins, Laris, "Land of the Loops", The Sound Collector, 1997, n. 1, p. 35.
- brblife.com Land of the Loops + Interview, Oct. 12, 2007.
- Mouat, Anna, "Distinct voices give life to new works", Calgary Herald, February 14, 2004, p. D6.
- Anthony, Pamela, "Alberta Ballet celebrates spring, dance", Edmonton Journal, February 22, 2004, p. B8.
- Siegel, Marcia B., "Adventurous demos", The Boston Phoenix, June 8, 2007, p.20.