Luke Vibert: Lover's Acid

Mike Schiller

Beware of a bad trip -- Lover's Acid is Luke Vibert on autopilot.

Luke Vibert

Lover's Acid

Label: Planet Mu
US Release Date: 2005-04-19
UK Release Date: 2005-04-04
Amazon affiliate

Should an album exist just because an artist happens to have enough material to create one? Such a dubious raison d'être seems to be plenty for Luke Vibert and the usually pretty neat Planet Mu record label, the parties responsible for Vibert's latest full length, Lover's Acid. Lover's Acid is a compilation of the three 12" EPs that Vibert has recorded to date for Planet Mu, the most recent of which is also called Lover's Acid -- evidently, coming up with a new name for the compiled work would have been too much of a strain.

Vibert's work for Planet Mu has all been in the realm of 'acid', an electronic subgenre that features funkier beats than the typical four-on-the-floor of techno and squelchy sequencer noises which generally betray a gradual turning of the 'decay' knob. As such, there are lots of sequenced synth lines that go from soft tones to distorted, ugly tones and back again without a change in the notes or rhythm being played; only the timbre is adjusted. Honestly, it's a neat trick the first time around, as the somewhat subtle, slow shifts in sound can have a profound effect on the intensity of the melody. As the disc wears on, however, the effect gets old, and it's hard not to wish there was a little more filling in this particular acid pie.

Most of the strongest work on Lover's Acid is actually from 2002's Homewerk EP, most notably the back-to-back placement of "Acid 2000" and "Come On Chaos". "Acid 2000" is a fantastic little sample-fest that actually pushes those squelchy sequencers into the mix a bit instead of putting them way out front and allowing them to dominate. This novel concept allows the listener to concentrate on the more interesting bits of the song, like the pulsing piano chords and the most excellent vocal samples culled from Indeep's "Last Nite a DJ Saved My Life". "Come on Chaos" is more like the rest of the tracks on the disc, but it has a quick tempo, a thick beat, and a menacing feel that recalls Orbital's "Satan" in spots. "Come on Chaos" is nothing groundbreaking, but at least it propels itself ahead with urgency, which is more than you can say for most of the tracks here.

Case in point, the "new" tracks that also appear on the EP version of Lover's Acid are among the laziest of the bunch. The title track fools the listener into thinking it's going to be a discombobulating six-beat workout, but it eventually relaxes into a laid-back 4/4 that would be perfect for the chillout circuit. After establishing his beat and his sequencer line, Vibert is content to muck with them for five minutes, affecting small, subtle changes that are easy enough to hear, but don't very much have any effect on the mood of the song -- listening to it is like walking on a treadmill. Slowly. "Gwithian" tries to be creepy at times, but it gets lost in numerous pointless transitions that kill the mood with lack of sound.

Even the album opener, "Funky Acid Stuff" (from the '95-'99 EP), doesn't manage to grab the listener with any kind of intensity. It grabs a generic funk beat (as evidenced by the title), tosses more of those confounded sequencers over the top, adds a few screams which may or may not be a highly pitch-shifted James Brown, and calls it a day.

On the bright side, at least he's obviously having a giggle titling songs like "Prick Tat" and "Analord", the latter of which would be cuter if Richard D. James hadn't already used it for his latest projects.

I'd be tempted to say that the blame for not enjoying Lover's Acid rests solely on myself for not finding much appeal in the genre -- the decaying sequencer is likely the mark of acid, and its constant presence doesn't do much for me. Still, when I find enjoyment in a song like "Dirty Fucker" (which wraps its acid in a straight-up techno blotter), I can't help but think that the rest of the album just sounds lazy, a bunch of songs that sound decent, released for the sake of releasing. The 12 tracks of Lover's Acid would have been better left as vinyl-only collector's items, for at least then, they would have carried with them some intrinsic value. As it is, this new CD is harmless, but also rather worthless.






PM Picks Playlist 1: Rett Madison, Folk Devils + More

The first PopMatters Picks Playlist column features searing Americana from Rett Madison, synthpop from Everything and Everybody, the stunning electropop of Jodie Nicholson, the return of post-punk's Folk Devils, and the glammy pop of Baby FuzZ.


David Lazar's 'Celeste Holm  Syndrome' Appreciates Hollywood's Unsung Character Actors

David Lazar's Celeste Holm Syndrome documents how character actor work is about scene-defining, not scene-stealing.


David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.


Laraaji Takes a "Quiet Journey" (premiere +interview)

Afro Transcendentalist Laraaji prepares his second album of 2020, the meditative Moon Piano, recorded inside a Brooklyn church. The record is an example of what the artist refers to as "pulling music from the sky".


Blues' Johnny Ray Daniels Sings About "Somewhere to Lay My Head" (premiere)

Johnny Ray Daniels' "Somewhere to Lay My Head" is from new compilation that's a companion to a book detailing the work of artist/musician/folklorist Freeman Vines. Vines chronicles racism and injustice via his work.


The Band of Heathens Find That Life Keeps Getting 'Stranger'

The tracks on the Band of Heathens' Stranger are mostly fun, even when on serious topics, because what other choice is there? We all may have different ideas on how to deal with problems, but we are all in this together.


Landowner's 'Consultant' Is OCD-Post-Punk With Obsessive Precision

Landowner's Consultant has all the energy of a punk-rock record but none of the distorted power chords.


NYFF: 'American Utopia' Sets a Glorious Tone for Our Difficult Times

Spike Lee's crisp concert film of David Byrne's Broadway show, American Utopia, embraces the hopes and anxieties of the present moment.


South Africa's Phelimuncasi Thrill with Their Gqom Beats on '2013-2019'

A new Phelimuncasi anthology from Nyege Nyege Tapes introduces listeners to gqom and the dancefloors of Durban, South Africa.


Wolf Parade's 'Apologies to the Queen Mary' Turns 15

Wolf Parade's debut, Apologies to the Queen Mary, is an indie rock classic. It's a testament to how creative, vital, and exciting the indie rock scene felt in the 2000s.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Literary Scholar Andrew H. Miller On Solitude As a Common Bond

Andrew H. Miller's On Not Being Someone Else considers how contemplating other possibilities for one's life is a way of creating meaning in the life one leads.


Fransancisco's "This Woman's Work" Cover Is Inspired By Heartache (premiere)

Indie-folk brothers Fransancisco dedicate their take on Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" to all mothers who have lost a child.


Rodd Rathjen Discusses 'Buoyancy', His Film About Modern Slavery

Rodd Rathjen's directorial feature debut, Buoyancy, seeks to give a voice to the voiceless men and boys who are victims of slavery in Southeast Asia.


Hear the New, Classic Pop of the Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" (premiere)

The Parson Red Heads' "Turn Around" is a pop tune, but pop as heard through ears more attuned to AM radio's glory days rather than streaming playlists and studio trickery.


Blitzen Trapper on the Afterlife, Schizophrenia, Civil Unrest and Our Place in the Cosmos

Influenced by the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Blitzen Trapper's new album Holy Smokes, Future Jokes plumbs the comedic horror of the human condition.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Fire in the Time of Coronavirus

If we venture out our front door we might inhale both a deadly virus and pinpoint flakes of ash. If we turn back in fear we may no longer have a door behind us.


Sufjan Stevens' 'The Ascension' Is Mostly Captivating

Even though Sufjan Stevens' The Ascension is sometimes too formulaic or trivial to linger, it's still a very good, enjoyable effort.

Jordan Blum

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.