A CERTAIN DISTANCE
Ghostly International Records
chill•out \ chil-aût \ vb + tech•no \tek-nõ\ n
When genre tags like IDM (intelligent dance music) or minimal techno get thrown around, the qualifiers that follow rarely include lush, sexy or human. Usually pigeonholed as being sparse and cold, it all gets backed into a mechanical-feeling corner. Refreshingly, both sides of spectrum—from blood-pumping humanism to well-oiled mechanics—are given room to breathe when Texas-born, Seattle-based producer Lusine is at the controls. On his latest album for Ann Arbor’s Ghostly International, A Certain Distance, he works in the techno or IDM realm—what he’s known for—but brings a needed warmth and emotion to his sound.
On lead single “Two Dots,” brushed drums mix with chords bubbling up from the equator while the sultry vocals of Vilja Larostjo get chopped and screwed. Most of the album focuses on this sort of comforting chill out rather than his usual minimal constructions. In addition to “Two Dots,” tracks like “Tin Hat” and “Twilight” give something that’s at once atmospheric, lightly brooding and 100 percent worthy of joint rolling.
That’s not to say his prior production inclinations are all together absent. Songs like “Thick of It” and “Crowded Room” have progressed from detached, robotic beginnings, going beyond a mere 4/4 thump to a hybrid shuffle comprised of piano, sometimes guitar, whispers of effects-laden vocals and an arsenal of esoteric clicks, pops and 8-bit bleeps. Elsewhere, as on “Every Disguise,” he showcases the minimalist thump and glitchy grit that’s been a focus in the past. All told, A Certain Distance riffs in multiple disciplines and maintains cohesiveness that is a rare commodity in an electronic artist album.
- Joshua P. Ferguson