Los Angeles rocker and Mancunian transplant Mark Loughman, known for his work with his group Emerson Loughman Palmer as well as his own solo releases Bleeding Aura and My Zanzibar is So Fudo, has just released his first entirely self-recorded solo single, “MK Ultra”. The new single is accompanied by a video which expands upon the song’s ominous lyrical themes and moody musical textures. The combination is a kaleidoscope of provocative political imagery offset by flashes of Loughman’s signature dry wit, giving occasional moments of levity to the dark clouds he describes forming on the horizon. Listen here
“MK Ultra” begins conjuring up a stark world view with a droning industrial drum loop accompanied by a foreboding bass and guitar motif and subtle stabs of synthesizer noise, setting the stage for the grim Orwellian narration that dominates the verses. Loughman’s lyrics describe a seemingly unstoppable cascade of events building alongside the music, ultimately delivering a cataclysmic view of a society in decline. The chorus in the song — which function as a temporary release from the tension of the verses, highlight mankind’s ability to distract itself from the inevitable over a soaring melody and heavily distorted guitars.
The song continues to build over time, allowing the stomping rhythms and hypnotic verse melody to lull the listener into a trance until Loughman’s words boil over into a wall of massive riffs, synthesized noise, and his airy singing. The song closes out with a wailing guitar solo that screams over the din of fuzz and noise only to suddenly fade out at the last moment leaving only a mournful string melody to bring the song to a suitably tragic close.
“I wanted to capture that sense of dread that a lot of people are feeling as we watch current events unfold and try and say something about it, as unfortunately every lyric and image is either happening today or is about to happen in the near future,” explained Loughman. “At best, people may consider this song a work of creative fiction, but I hope it will encourage some much-needed critical thought in a time where we need it most.”