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Luke Vibert - Kerrier District

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Artist: Luke Vibert

Album: Kerrier District

Label: Rephlex

Review date: May. 19, 2004

Luke Vibert is a man of many genres and personas. Some might even call him schizophrenic, but no one can argue his importance in electronic dance music over the last 10 years. If the Rephlex or Warp labels don't ring a bell or the names Plug, Wagon Christ, and Amen Andrews sound like televangelists, then here’s your wakeup call.

Vibert's latest release, Kerrier District is as cool as a posse of technophiles doing the Hustle. Like a pendulum, Vibert has swung from edgy acid house to the long, but not lost days of disco. For better or worse, Vibert touches on what has become a common theme among the too hip to square dance elite – nostalgia. Named after where he grew up, his latest release on Rephlex skips the analog Roland-TR 808 and 909 to serve up ambient disco prepared completely from a laptop. Every sample is seamlessly programmed with effortless ease, recreating the orchestration of disco and early R&B. Dubby tripped-out house laced with flutes, handclaps, and bass lines bare much similarity to the avant-garde disco house of Environ and Balihu Records minus the analog tweaking.

A few months ago a battle ensued on Brooklyn turf between two distinct labels. Kompakt and Rephlex duked it out at the latest refuge of New York City nightlife known as Volume, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The vote was unanimous – every techno music blog this side of the Hudson River scribed that Kompakt won the night. Cologne’s succinct yet smooth micro-house was in definite contrast to the London ragga-jungle and IDM flavor of Rephlex. If only the Brits had dropped some cuts from Kerrier District.

The Rephlex crew seemed steadfast in a time warp, showcasing their earlier experimentation and futurist rave sentiments. Perhaps that is part of the irony in this post-post-post-disco era. The late night, after-hours speakeasy feel of Vibert’s triple pack 12" release isn't necessarily groundbreaking, but it's definitely uncanny. The cool swinging tempo and groovelicious bass might have induced the chin-stroking set to hold hands and give into the disco ball. Now that would be the day.

By Dei Lewison

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