Returning to Ghostly International with his 5th full length for them. Heralding from a most definite Detroit techno past and influence, Texan Lusine has grown away from the abrasive more and more, developing into an electro come IDM pop producer. Keeping the slickly perfect production and sound palette and adding cheeky groove and serenely floating chopped vocals.
8/10 Jamie Staff review, 01 March 2017
There’s techno in this Texan’s bones. No not mine silly, Jeff McIlwain aka Lusine is the skeletal makeup I’m referring to. I’m from another Deep South entirely. Jeff’s fifth album for Ghostly Int opens with the tinkles and music-box chimes of ‘Canopy’; here we’re lulled into a daydream state before the graceful throb and hum of McIlwain’s soul-inflected machines whirr into action. Smoothly syncopated beats underpin the harmonious electronic melodies and Jeff’s wife Sarah’s voice on ‘Ticking Hands’. Those ‘90s IDM influences bubble away in the undercurrents, synths and skittering beats painted upon each other in fine layers as on the beautifully textured ‘Slow Motion’.
Midweek techno is just fine when it’s this easy-going, it’s like an oasis of candy floss after a quagmire of nasty waxy Haribo. ‘Just a Cloud’ is just that; Vilja Larjosto’s sweetly spun vocals floating atop a whipped creamy confection of slow-mo electro and half-speed synth nudges. By now, the machines have been worked up into full-on technicolour-melodic techno with gorgeous textures and half-speed kick-drum (‘The Level’). Just in time too, I was starting to think things were in danger of becoming a bit sleepy. Oh, and here’s Benoit Pioulard who’s just dropped in to add his height-scaling vocals to ‘Witness’. Vilja is back -- on ‘Won’t Forget’ -- to add her breath and melody to the two-step beats and cut-ups a-la Matthew Herbert and Dani Siciliano circa ‘Around The House’. Works like a proverbial dream.
There are many moments of ambient reflection amongst the techno-pop beats on this record; that, while lovely, I can’t help wishing hadn't had all its edges sanded down. More grit in the pearl next time please.
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