Chord, the third full-length from Lukid, is a collection of songs representative of what bloggers, critics and even artists are calling “post-dubstep.” The 26-year-old London producer Luke Blair sits nicely on the Werk Discs roster among his fellow laptop impresarios who are concurrently leaving dubstep in their wake. Back in 2007, when the genre was still new and relatively exciting, Blair recorded his debut Onandon, an impressive debut that portended good things. He then smoothed the edges of his samples and patterns in 2008 with Foma, but still worked under the radar as more of a producer’s producer. Now, with Werk Discs label-head Actress dropping Splazsh last year, and Mount Kimbie and Nosaj Thing pushing things forward, a new Lukid record of abstract beats couldn’t come at a better time.
Blair’s more than a little bookish — his Twitter bio is a quote from “Notes From The Underground,” his first record includes Bukowski samples, and Foma’s track titles referenced Kurt Vonnegut. Though thematically with those records, and here also, there aren’t any overarching ideas tying things together, and nothing to indicate a higher meaning beyond nods to his favorite scribes.
“Hair Of The Dog” sets an icy atmospheric tone, with Swiss-precision drum programming and woozy, fluttering filtered synths. Though “Spiller” seems like a signpost to where Lukid may be headed, with even deeper abstraction, less percussion and more textural emphasis. One of the top picks of the litter, its hypnagogic pulse provides a strong head-nod factor at Balearic tempos.
“Lego” seems to drag along with a heavily filtered (moog-ish) bassline and persistent muted kick. He drops elements in-and-out, in a hip hop- by-numbers fashion, while the long builds end up feeling anticlimactic, but that’s one of just a few missteps here. The whole package is a bit lacking in emotional punch, but it’s clear that Blair cares more about refinement and production technique. Chord is and evidence that very few producers can match Blair’s command of such stylistic register, and whether dubstep is “dead” or not, its influence has certainly inspired some great works.