Luke Vibert
YosepH
Warp
2003
B-



there’s a reason why YosepH’s title finishes with a capital ‘H’ – there’s 303 all over Luke Vibert’s new album. If that doesn’t spell a-c-i-d then I suggest you go home right now.

Vibert’s been mashing up experimental digitronica from his Cornish base for more than a decade now, moving through hip-hop breakbeats, ambient chillness, epileptic drum n bass and sample-mad post-techno, all the while masquerading under a raft of pseudonym’s that would put Howard Marks to shame, but astonishingly YosepH (pH like soap with extra moisturiser, like pH test, right, that means acid, OK, I’m not gonna tell you again, there’s a revival going on, trust me) is his first record for Warp, the label that would seem to be his natural home.

Anyway. On YosepH Luke pretty much throws away everything except his 303 and a big pile of funky breakbeats, focuses his mind firmly on some kind of twisted retro dancefloor, memories of 88 filtered through the fog of 15 years of technological and pharmaceutical development, and makes a what can only be described as a wicked album. If Warp are going through a renaissance now (LFO’s excellent Sheath, Autechre’s twisted Draft 7.30, Prefuse 73, the audacious deal with !!!) then YosepH might just be the flagship. I imagine Richard D James would describe it as ‘lush’.

There’s a lot of 303 on this record. This is resolutely a very good thing.

So whaddavwegot? Spastic electric piano and fat acid lines blur the borders of “StanD’infamy”, the penultimate track of a five-song run (six through ten) which is almost utterly perfect in it’s… um… perfection. I remember Simon Reynolds saying something similar about the first 6 tracks of Daft Punk’s sophomore LP, that they were faultless, and then being hideously disappointed when I actually got to hear them back-to-back. Well, from “I Love Acid” (6) until the title track (10), Luke Vibert doesn’t put a foot wrong. In fact, on “Acidisco” (track 8) he hits ‘perfect’ so damn hard you wonder why the opening five tracks were merely ‘good’ (“FreakTimeBaby” [3] resurrecting and then shagging to death the ghost of FatBoy Slim’s talent, “Liptones” [1] being damp and touchable, “NokTup” [5] being accessible and green[?]). “Ambalek” (7) begins with the most tongue-in-cheek sample ever (I won’t spoil it for you) and then does some weird, beatless, white-noise thing, but the respite from the funky beats and Glastonbury-bound squelch (that’s an A303* joke, Americans) is more than welcome, and merely serves to heighten the ludicrously wonderful impact of the aforementioned “Acidisco” (acid at a disco, do you understand?).

Yeah. Luke Vibert’s delivered one of the most stupidly danceable albums of the year (Alexander Kowalski excepted), or something. Cornwall is a very strange place.

* The A303 is a road in the South West of England which passes Stonehenge and takes in the infamous hippy-attracting leyline crux of Glastonbury Tor, site of the annual British Musical Mud-Wrestling Championship, a.k.a. the Glastonbury Festival.
Reviewed by: Nick Southall
Reviewed on: 2003-10-16
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