Album Reviews

Luke Vibert – Yoseph

(Warp) UK release date: 13 October 2003

Luke Vibert - Yoseph Given his collaborations with old mate Aphex Twin, left-field experimentation as Wagon Christ and predilection for employing drills and assorted hardware in his Plug project, Luke Vibert‘s first album for the Warp label was always going to be, well, interesting. Best-known, up until now, for projects made under a variety of different names and for his work with the likes of Lamb, BJ Cole, Nine Inch Nails, Stereolab and Tortoise, this should be the album to firmly establish Vibert as a distinctive, and distinguished, solo artist in his own right.

Certainly this album is bursting with musical ideas and good humour. Mercifully, too, the road maintenance equipment has been left in the garage for this effort, which veers from the blissful chill-out ambience of Liptones to the full-on assault of recent single, Synthax. Vibert has gone back to the ’90s for many of the acid-flavoured tracks, going so far as to describe Yoseph as an Oacid renaissance album. Well, just about every genre of music has had a revival so why not acid?

Not surprisingly, given the unashamedly nostalgic agenda of this project, the album has a decidedly retro feel, something that is enhanced by Vibert’s use throughout of analogue-era synths, complete with all their idiosyncratic electronic beeps and burps.

Although the production values on the album are as high as we have come to expect from the man responsible for Wagon Christ, there are certain moments when listening to this album is not unlike grooving to the sound of your washing-machine – set on spin cycle. Stan D’Infamy is one track that springs to mind, while the electronic noodling on Nok Tup and I Love Acid are reminiscent of the Aphex Twin at his more abstract.

Rather more accessible is Countdown, one of the outstanding cuts on the album, which sounds, according to taste, either like Kraftwerk in overdrive or the incidental music for a long-lost Doctor Who episode. The vaguely sci-fi feel is enhanced by the distorted Dalek-like voice intoning, with no little irony, “This is going to make you free,” on the frenetic Acidisco.

An album, then that manages to look back in languor while also helping to fashion a future for what was once, in olden times, known as techno. A major achievement.

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Luke Vibert – Yoseph