Saturday, May 16, 2009

Lukid - Foma

01. Ice Nine
02. Raise High the Roof Beam
03. Veto
04. Slow Hand Slap
05. Saddlebags
06. Chord
07. Foma
08. Fall Apart
09. Laughin
10. Ski Fly
11. Time Doing So Mean

On the strength of his past two albums, Lukid, AKA Luke Blair, may as well re-christen his production alias "The Master of Musical Subtlety." His second collection of perplexingly complex hip-hop instrumentals, Foma, takes the low-slung, late night pace of his first, Onandon, and runs headlong with it through a room full of wilting vinyl into a sample bank of bitty drum hits and scuzzed out succulent synth swells. Selected and arranged culpably and with a seemingly heavy hand, he manages to make these small snatches of sampled melody fit, without completely ironing out the rough creases or crackles.

The first two tracks on Foma, "Ice Nine" and "Raise High the Roof Beam," are pure pressure-builders with Blair creating serious anticipation via some pattering percussion and rolling piano samples. But it's the third track, "Veto," where he first unleashes his trademark bump. Blair sets his splicing of a whirling organ underneath a stabbing piano riff alongside a carefully gesticulated drum pattern and some '80s pop bass stabs, managing to consistently make the song pulse by bringing the force of a 4 x 4 kick drum and muting the slap by boosting the low end.

Steering himself away from just beats, bass and a sample, Lukid epitomises the Grievous Angel-endorsed idea that these days, trip-hop is actually trippy. (Refer to the snatches of scything bass and the lush vibes on "Saddlebags" for any further embellisment of this new psychedelic hip-hop theory.) "Slow Hand Slap" takes things in a moodier direction with a sinister bassline opening proceedings before Blair hijacks some of Rustie's playfully pitched tom drums and lays them over three separate bass evolutions. He lets the tension build before he unleashes the ascending vocal sample, which slays the simplistic drum pattern by serving up a memorable hook that evokes wide-open wafting fields and late '60s flower power temptresses.

Throughout Foma Lukid displays a flair for creating quick witted odysseys. Quick because all—bar one—are less than five minutes long; and odysseys because they unfold and ripen into sonic screenplays that you can re-discover and re-immerse yourself in on each listen. Blair has spent a lot of time finetuning his use of bass and on tracks like "Chord" and the sure-fire standout, "Fall Apart," you can hear the impression a painstakingly wobbled sine wave makes to the overall product. Whilst keeping the insatiable thump displayed on "Onandon" as a heady mainstay in his music, Blair manages to seamlessly combine the impetuous wooziness of his fuzzed-up psychotropics with an impeccable heap of punchy post-Dilla drum

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