uke Vibert can kiss my Italo-disco whiteboy ass. Throughout his career as IDM’s retarded uncle, he’s seen fit to weigh in on a variety of genres: trip-hop (early Wagonchrist), drum ‘n’ bass (Plug), acid house (Luke Vibert) and, now, disco (Kerrier District). It is summarily awful. All of it.
There is one thing that Vibert is good at, however, and that’s the selection of samples. The man listens to and digests more (rarely heard) music than is good for him. The Lo Label illustrated this fact by having Vibert sift through hundreds of archived recordings in search of some of the most interesting and innovative compositions that never (or hardly) saw the light of day. The results are exactly what you would expect: songs imbued with a sense of discovery and life that Vibert’s productions often vie for and fail to achieve.
For an artist that has vainly attempted to capture the sounds of various pasts at every opportunity, though, this should be obvious. In the case of Kerrier District, the story of how the group Black Devil came to be released on the Rephlex imprint is instructive. In 1978 two obscure library writers joined forces under the pseudonym Black Devil to produce one of the finest releases of the disco era. It was criminally underreported upon however, winning fans in only the most knowledgeable circles (Morgan Geist, for example). Discovered at a flea market for a pittance by a Rephlex associate, the record was soon passed around the label’s luminaries (Vibert included) and was soon re-released with a Kerrier District mix. It is, of course, out of place, sounding heavily sequenced compared to the Black Devil productions that used no computers or MIDI.
And now we have the full-length of Kerrier District material. It shouldn’t be a surprise, honestly. Coinciding with the release of the newest Wagonchrist album, it’s become clear (if it wasn’t painfully so already) that the construction of music for Vibert is easy. This is not a good thing. If anything, it seems that Vibert put the release together in less than a month, utilizing a bank of approved disco sounds sampled from Environ releases (Morgan Geist’s label). Unfortunately, per usual, the coalescing of the sounds is non-existent, revealing a frustrating and flaccid experience for listeners. “Let’s Dance and Freak”, the opener, is a prime target for this charge, unsubtly mixing a stuttered bassline and Vibert’s typically “goofy” vocal samples that sound hopelessly out of place.
If this wasn’t enough already (and it is), Vibert seems unable to add anything original to the disco discourse. “Silhouettes”, for example, takes a similar flute line from Metro Area’s “Evidence”, released nearly three years previous. Certainly Geist and co. doesn’t have the patent on flute-related material, but it’s disconcerting to hear it lifted so easily and shamelessly. Additionally, “Negresco” further attempts to echo the already classic Area track “Miura” with its unfortunate strings and eerily similar (read: stolen) bass hit. Oh. And the flute again.
But should we expect much more? Vibert’s been riding the coat tails of others for years, offering takes on established genre’s and sounds at every opportunity. It is no surprise that he would take a chance to climb upon the current smooth-disco trend and release his own left-field take (read: dead-end (Does Vibert not realize that this is already fun on its own?)) on the genre (see “Disco Bus”’ vocal samples for further unnecessary Vibert-ization of the material). Perhaps the least essential release in an already hopelessly inessential artist’s career.