espite the recent name change from Luciano to Lucien–n–Luciano, due to what can be imagined was common mistaking for the reggae artist of the same name, Lucien Nicolet has lost none of the magical qualities that infused his stunning string of 12”’s for the Mental Grooves record label. In fact, upon the release of Blind Behavior, it’s clear that Nicolet has stepped up to the plate on this, his first proper full length. As part of the burgeoning Chilean underground of talented electronic music producers, Lucien proves here to be second only to Ricardo Villalobos, who turned in a stunning document of his own with 2003’s Alcachofa.
As might be expected from a native of Chile, Nicolet employs the help of congas and other South American touches along the record’s length. Luckily, Nicolet doesn’t allow them to dominate the mix, forcing them underneath the radar or digitizing them enough for them to lose their initial signification. More than anything, however, Luciano owes a deeper debt to the microhouse style—tracks here focus on the subtle changes of production, preferring to revel in the tiniest of details sometimes at the expense of the bigger picture.
This minor problem rears its head during the second track of the album, “La Dance Des Enfants”, which privileges the minor skittering of the rhythmic palette, as opposed to the melodic structure of the song, which proves to be a poor choice. It’s plainly a beautiful song, but one that could have done with something extra added to its result. Fortunately, in most cases, this problem either fails to materialize or is accompanied by such interesting material that it makes little difference to the overall whole.
“Madre Mother & Mere” is a case in point, where the lack of development is carried by that special something: Luciano’s own vocoderized vocals. The track is a panoply of sounds, featuring not least of all what sounds like the digital equivalent of a banjo in the background. It’s an action packed four minutes that reminds, more than anything else of Basement Jaxx’s productions, by bursting forth fully formed and in epic scale. It’s followed up by “Ice”, which works well in its wake, itself a far more somber tune, but no less engaging. The grain silo bass that Villalobos used to great effect is present throughout, weaving its way within the labyrinth of sound constructed.
“Blind Behaviour” closes the album in much the same way described: bursting forth with melodies and diverse sounds, one merely needs to take their pick of the surfeit of material that could captivate interest throughout. Will it be the dubbed out triangle? The muted steel drums that comprise one of the melodies? The crystalline digital harmony shimmering its way into the mix one-fourth of the way into the track? You merely have to take your pick, as it’s all here and more.
Mining the same sort of production complexity and sonic ambiguity, it’s inevitable that Luciano will be compared to his friend and fellow producer Ricardo Villalobos. Luckily, Blind Behaviour serves notice that the comparison is both well deserved and one that hopefully push him further into the spotlight as one of Microhouse’s true innovators. Taken as companion piece to last year’s Alcachofa, Blind Behavior illustrates how truly healthy the genre actually is.