Reviewed by Kilian Murphy (funkymofo.net)
Note that the “Lover’s” in the title is singular and possessive, not plural. This suggests that the music therein documents the story of an acid lover, rather than the way in which acid touched the relationship of two lovers. Is Luke Vibert the (acid) lover in question?
Hard to say. Acid can be “heard” in music, even by those of us who haven’t ever taken it. By the same token, it is hard to know when musicians themselves are being directly inspired by stimulants. Nonetheless, many drugs have already established particular signature sounds – though it is hard to know whether those that appropriate them are taking their cue from the drug itself or from the artists who initially created the “drug music”.
Luke Vibert’s musical pieces are certainly drenched in all the common musical reference points for Acid and Ecstasy: rubbery bass lines, electronic stabs and spirals, muffled screams. However, the album title – “Lover’s Acid” – is somewhat misleading: its range of moods encompasses more than just the loved-up drug experience. It veers erratically between warm, dreamy ambience and chaotic, nightmarish bad trips.
Those who are fond of music specifically for its melodic qualities may crudely divide the pop world into two sides – music that respects melody enough to make it its chief focal point, and music that has such great contempt for melody that it fails to include it at all. There is, of course, a third camp, which Luke Vibert’s music belongs to – wherein melody is present, yet never indulged or treated with respect. The strength of “Lover’s Acid” is in its sounds and dynamics, not its tunefulness. Melody weaves its way in and out, but never takes our attention away from swirls, rushes and breakdowns.
This record, Vibert’s first full-length release for the Planet Mu label, is a collection of the EP’s he recorded between 2000 and 2005. As such, it doesn’t hang together particularly well and falls victim to poor sequencing on more than one occasion. However, there are enough highlights to recommend it (and in this day and age, where the listener can re-sequence and edit albums in any fashion s/he pleases, isn’t this all that matters?)
Vibert is at his best when mixing influences from his chosen musical spheres (hip-hop, jazz, acid house, drum-n-bass, chin-stroking IDM) on individual tracks. Gwithian builds its way up from a twinkling synth figure, beefing up slowly with increasingly muscular hip-hop beats and throwing in cool late-night jazz, flourishes as it goes. Acid2000 buries a melancholy synth wail behind frantic electronic squelches and old-skool hip-hop bells, before adding some euphoric house piano. Orch Garage craftily submerges sweet xylophone tinkling beneath a pulsing groove and acid squiggles. Best of all is Homework – which has electronic bubbles rising out of the mix in the foreground, while an echoey synth stab appears and disappears behind it.
All very complementary to the drug experience, of course, but just as enjoyable without prior narcotic consumption, “Lover’s Acid” successfully translates the rush of such an experience into breathlessly enjoyable pop music.
- Eskmo - Let Them Sing
- Ikonika - Smuck
- Geiom & Shortstuff - No Hand Signals
- Starkey - OK Luv
- Raffertie - 7th Dimension
- Ceephax Acid Crew - United Acid Emirates
- Kuedo - Dream Sequence E.P.
- Starkey - Ephemeral Exhibits
- Neil Landstrumm - Lord For £39
- Distance - Repercussions
- Last Step - 1961
- Mrs Jynx - The Standoffish Cat
- Venetian Snares - My Downfall (Original Soundtrack)
- Meat Beat Manifesto - Autoimmune
- iTAL tEK - Cyclical
- Mary Anne Hobbs - Evangeline
- Venetian Snares - Miss Balaton
- Various Production & Virus Syndicate - Apollo/Neva Argue
- Sunken Foal - Fermented Condiments
- Sunken Foal - Fallen Arches
- Venetian Snares - Detrimentalist
- The Gasman - Superlife
- Eero Johannes - Eero Johannes
- Virus Syndicate - Sick Pay