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A lot has changed since Ms. John Soda released their first 7" in 1998, since Micha Acher (The Notwist, Tied & Tickled Trio, Alien Ensemble) joined Stefanie Boehm (Couch) and completed the creative nucleus of this band; day-to-day life indeed feels different in 2015, but the basic chemistry, the intricate balance of electronic and analog molecules that orbit this nucleus -- and thus, the resulting mood and vibe -- they're still recognizable, still undeniably Ms. John Soda. Whether it's the dense, intensely rushing soundscapes of "Hero Whales," numerous layers pushing and taking off into the same direction; the propelled clatter of "Sirens"; a track like "Millions" that blows off more and more steam, a glistening, wheezing sort of madness even (though there is a tender side to it as well); the perpetual magic-lantern-like motions of "Name It" (think Trish Keenan and Broadcast); or the gradually descending melodies of opening track "In My Arms" -- they're all lined with a certain tension, underpinned by a certain atmosphere, a unique brand of melancholy that never quite gives in and keeps searching for new outlets and answers. The title of Loom, the band's first album since 2006's Notes and the Like (MORR 064CD/LP), hints at a feeling of re-emergence, gathering and looming, but according to the singer, it also refers to a weaving loom; it's about "weaving and combining a vast number of influences, ideas, instruments, melodies, rhythms, and layers to create a whole," says Boehm, whose vocals span these tracks like thick, reliable ropes that glow with marine luminescence. "It's about weaving individuals into a group ('Millions'), weaving and merging former ideals and hopes with reality ('The Light'), combining 'hi' and 'bye,' beginning and end ('Hi Fool'), interweaving opposite or contradicting concepts, such as pushing forward vs. being pushed ('In My Arms')." Cico Beck aka Joasihno of Aloa Input (drums, electronics) and drummer Thomas Geltinger helped out on various tracks recorded with Oliver Zülch in Weilheim; Boehm and Acher were also joined by Karl-Ivar Refseth (percussions) and Matthias Götz (trombone). Together, they keep feeding the loom with countless spools of yarn, until epic piano closer "Fall Away" seems to offer a temporary respite: "find your way/take the dry suit off/for a night." Time to rest, to take a deep breath. Or are those the first rays of dawn looming on the horizon?