, - on 21/3/11
With enough monikers to rival a secret agent, Luke Vibert is known for his extensive musical capabilities. Spanning techno, house, drum n bass, trip hop, ambient and electronics, Vibert’s refusal to stick to one style has seen him continue to push cross-genre boundaries. His latest release sees him return with his first solo incarnation Wagon Christ, for his first release under that name in seven years, Toomorrow.
Wagon Christ started out as Vibert’s ambient experimental persona, but his first love was always hip hop, and this is evident in the direction he has taken with this album. It would be easy to describe as a complex arrangement of samples, a la The Avalanches, but Vibert’s collection adds a sense of humour amongst the obscurity.
Introfunktion sets the tone with its laid back groove and vocal snippets, a taste of what’s to come, a journey into the unknown. For Vibert, it’s all about taking things that wouldn’t normally work together, and making them sound like that’s the way they were intended in the first place. Take the title track for instance, where old movie score sounds are juxtaposed with futuristic soundbites. But not only do individual tracks go down this path, as a whole, the album stops and starts in the same way, leaping from genre to genre. Manalyze This offers up a chunky bassline on the breakbeat tip, drawing you in and finishing as abruptly as it began.
There’s a smattering of hip hop throughout, from the jazzy stylings of Accordian McShane, to Oh, I’m Tired, which sounds like Bonobo on weed, and the smooth and soulful Harmoney. On the funk spectrum, you can’t go past Ain’t He Heavy, He’s My Brother, with its hip hop samples and undeniably infectious hook straight out of a 70’s porno, and the equally groovy Respectrum, complete with car chase samples and a crossover disco vibe.
It wouldn’t be a Wagon Christ record without some off the wall experimentation, and there’s plenty to keep listeners engaged and confused. Lazer Dick is like a funked up version of a jazz number, or a jazzed up version of a funk number, I can’t quite decide. Yet it’s then even thrown for a loop with its keyboard melodies and synthesized arrangements. Wake Up starts off with what sound like tribal drums, gets topped off with hip hop vocal snippets, and then morphs into a Middle Eastern style foray, while closing track Mr. Mukatsuku is a slow dreamy number punctuated by stylophone sounding sections and delineated by a light violin arrangement.
While the comparisons to the Avalanches will no doubt be thrown around, Vibert has taken a more instrumental direction, experimenting with noises and soundscapes that are strangely addictive. It’s a case of knowing what works well as opposed to knowing what sounds good. Individually the tracks don’t seem like they’d have any connection to each other, but together create an aural excursion for the listener – a day trip through the mind of a strange and musical being.
Tracklist: Wagon Christ - Toomorrow
03. Manalyze This!
04. Ain't He Heavy, He's My Brother
05. Accordian McShane
06. My Lonely Scene
08. Rennie Codgers
09. Oh, I'm Tired
10. Wake Up
11. Lazer Dick
12. Sentimental Hardcore
15. Mr. Mukatsuku
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