Reviewed by Mark Richardson (Pitchfork)
Lotta acid in 2005. Apparently the long elliptical orbit of music fashion has brought the squelchy buzz of the 303 back into view. It's just the tip of the iceberg, I'm sure, but in the last couple months I've sifted through all the AFX Analord releases, digested Uwe Schmidt's faux comp Acid Evolution 1988-2003, Soul Jazz's Chicago acid house disc, and this, Luke Vibert's collection of three acid-themed 12-inches put out by Planet Mu. Of the newly recorded material, this is the best of that lot.
I've never been a huge Vibert fan in any of his various guises (Plug, Wagon Christ, etc). His music has always seemed workmanlike and consistently listenable, but I was never able to tease out much in the way of personality. Lover's Acid, though, reveals Vibert as a producer with a keen sense of musical humor and an abiding interest in funkiness. "Funky Acid Stuff" from the "'95-'99" 12-inch is an excellent opener-- a James Brown bassline sample combined with big, splashy drums, which drives an wonderfully obnoxious acid line through the center of the thing. The breaks on "Acid2000" also draw rhythmic inspiration from hip-hop, with a simple piano progression serves as a delicious contrast to the busy electronics. On these tracks it's enjoyable to hear Vibert's instrumental hip-hop Ninja Tune aesthetic with the lead 303 way out front.
The pure machine tracks are slightly less interesting but still good. "Lover's Acid" is a spacey mid-tempo number that's basically just dinky analog drum programming behind a lead squiggle, and the late-90s track "Analord" has a vintage palette quite similar to the recent AFX project of the same name. Vibert's take on the sound is simpler and more pop, with regular hints of sing-songy new wave in the melody. "Come on Chaos", a rougher electro track out of a sci-fi film chase scene, loses some energy with clichÎd "C-c-c-c come on!" vocal samples. Two tracks, the Mo' Wax-style trip-hop "Prick Tat" and the faux-exotica "Gwithian", forego the acid theme entirely, and both come across as the same sort of solid but unexceptional material Vibert has been making for a long time.
All told Lover's Acid is a lot of fun despite a few dull patches. These dozen tracks recorded over the course of eight or nine years show little reference for any particular genre, and seem to grab from whatever's handy and might provide a laugh. Where the AFX Analord records followed the gurgle of the 303 straight into the guts of the machine to mediate on the physics of vintage electronics, Vibert uses the essential ridiculousness of the sound as a foundation on which to build effective party music.
- Shitmat - Full English Breakfest Vol.3
- Shitmat - Full English Breakfest Vol.1
- Various - The Sacred Symbols Of Mu
- Venetian Snares - Meathole
- Luke Vibert - Lover's Acid
- Frog Pocket - Gonglot
- Phthalocyanine - No One Said You Didn't
- Various - Amµnition
- Electronic Music Composer - Abandon Music
- The Gasman - The Grand Electric Palace Of Variety
- Chevron - Everything's Exactly The Same
- Julian Fane - Special Forces
- Kid Spatula - Meast
- Shitmat - Killababylonkutz
- Venetian Snares - Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding
- Datach'i - Mmale And Ffemale
- edIT - Crying Over Pros For No Reason
- Remarc - Unreleased Dubs '94-'96
- Remarc - Sound Murderer
- Urban Myth & Steve Beresford - Live At The Friends Meeting House
- dDamage - Radio Ape
- OOO - Upon Cycles
- Venetian Snares - The Chocolate Wheelchair Album
- The Gasman - Remedial