Luke Vibert dropped BIG SOUP under his own name, a new addition to his stable of aliases. This album, with the scratches on "Intro-Welcome" sounds more hip-hop than his previous works, but Vibert is nothing if not eclectic. The instrumentation on the album varies nicely: the organ on "Rank Rink Ring" gives way to piano arpeggios and then finally to ringing bell tones, while the mellow string on "Voyage Into The Unknown" segue into guitar strums and tinkling sounds. "Fused into Music" scoots up the tempo, and even if the first part of "No Turn Unstoned" feels bland, the drum break that comes 2/3rds of the way through rescues it. "Reality Check" goes all spy-like, while the squelches on "M.A.R.S." suggest someone squeezing interstellar acid babies, even as a famous whistling theme finds its way in. But the mellow, mellifluous "Stern Facials" stands out the most here, even making dolphins sound sexy. But that fat bass on "The Music Called Jazz" helps set the cutting mood. A big soup indeed, and a delicious one.
What a release!!! As far as I'm concerned (along with some of the Peshay remixes that were coming out about this time on James Lavelle's Oxford based home imprint, MoWax) this album is one of the best releases ever by a legend of electronica, on a label that played host to some of the most far out innovations in electric powered instrumentation back in the late 90s.
Plug, Wagon Christ, Amen Andrews, Spac Hand Luke, The Ace of Clubs and Kerrier District... All are names for this household icon of down tempo, smooth acid (go figure), lush melodic intrigue, fat chuncky beat driven numbers, Mr Luke Vibert! Born in Redruth Cornwall on January 26th in 1973, this British recording artist has since placed his feet firmly (rather than just wiggled his toes around) in pretty much all the various sub-genres of the now well over populated musical pool of electronica.
In 2003, Andrez Bergen wrote an article in Japan's Daily Yomiuri newspaper, which proclaimed that "It was under the alias of Wagon Christ (along with other equally vital monikers like Plug, Vibert & Simmonds, and later more simply in his own name) that Vibert helped to redefine the rules of electronic music in the UK in the early to mid '90s - alongside a bunch of reprehensible mates that included Richard D. James (Aphex Twin), Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher), Mike Paradinas (µ-Ziq), Chris Jeffs (Cylob), along with the labels Rephlex and Warp. Together they assimilated such diverse elements as hip hop beats and drum & bass into the more eccentric take on electronica they had tweaked, and kick-started a virtual insurrection in sound around the world." While it's quite a bold statement, one which I might not totally agree with, you can glimpse that Luke Vibert has pretty much achieved a level of recognition that goes way beyond the normal realms of space bound electronica stardom.
This album (at least in my humble opinion) demonstrates this fact beautifully, as it pretty much provides a journey into sound, much in the same way that The Orb's Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld did back in the early 90s. Laden with wacky samples from some very diverse sources, this album flows beautifully from track to track, inspiring the listener to imagine an Orson Wells type future, where music literally becomes the final frontier! Populated by space cadets lifting off in their studio control rooms, plotting and charting courses to the centre of the musical galaxy to boldly go where no man has gone before, it exudes total 50s to 60s Sci-Fi. Starting out with a track entitled Welcome, we are bided "Good Evening citizens of earth, or any other planet in the solar system." Then another voice warmly proclaims "Welcome Space Cadets! Welcome to the moon! You are the first human beings under the age of 21 to ever travel so far. All the people of the solar system congratulate you!!!" I can't help but get the feeling that it is almost as if Vibert himself is congratulating us for walking aboard his newly forged musical spaced out craft. And so, having flown with Vibert Intra-Stellar Space Ways, I'm here to recount what a most relaxing yet fun filled journey one can have with Vibert's way out of this world musical space programming skills. No doubt soon we'll have a Space Cadet training camp for future musicians, and this will become part of the standard "text."
All throughout this journey into spacially sequenced musical timelines, we are presented with a somewhat bizarre but totally coherent mixture of hip hop, trip hop beats, whistled doddles, scratches and drum & bass lines that seem to energetically propel the listener on into subsequently wider and wider orbits around the Star of our origin, without ever lingering on any particular trajectory for longer than is absolutely necessary. This is obviously a mission of exploration, one that heads into unknown funky parts of musical space and time, as Voyage Into The Unknown avows... Well balanced, diverse in melody, rhythmically challenging, this rather forward thinking release almost totally avoids "Uranus", and in so doing, avoids any association with your drainage system. Nor is it tacky, for that matter... Well, maybe a bit tacky. But only in the way Jean-Jacques Perrey is tacky, as with the amount of sticky tape that he uses on his musical tape loop recordings, he obviously exudes tackiness, but in a stylistic loopy kinda way... So one can forgive that Frenchman along with Vibert! Saying that, it's worth noting here that it's really easy to hear the influence that Jean-Jacques Perrey has played on this lone crusader of far out music.
A must for anyone onto Barbarella, trip hop, MoWax, Jean-Jacques Perrey, Plug, Wagon Christ, Amen Andrews, Spac Hand Luke, The Ace of Clubs and Kerrier District or Luke Vibert.