Wagon Christ
Sorry I Make You Lush

Is Luke Vibert the Carol Vorderman of electronica?

By Ed Chamberlin

 
Plinky-plonky, plinky-plonky, doobee-woobee-wooo. Oh how twee is this music I hear? Electronic music's Carol Vorderman is back (no, not because Luke V ibert is the best at maths – that would be Add N to (X) wouldn't it?). You see, just as Vorderman has managed to weedle her way onto BBC One, Two, ITV, and Channels 4 and 5, Luke Vibert has had records released on Rephlex, Warp, Mo Wax and Ninja Tune – a clean sweep of independent music's mainstream, if you like. Vibert recently mentioned that he has been working with all these labels to find one that fits his work ethic just right, which is fair enough, but does suggest a certain indecisiveness.

This time as Wagon Christ, Sorry I Make You Lush is his 47568th full length release since I started writing this review, and is of comparable quality to his recent work as Kerrier District, Plug and that carried out under his real name. That is to say it's pretty good. But it proves the truth of Kid 606's observation in The Wire magazine last year that electronica producers could bang out an album in an evening. Do we marvel at their wondrous talents, or do we realise the shallowness of the genre? Hard to say, but this, more than many other releases in this sphere, smacks of pointlessness and suffers from the same problems encountered on his Musipal LP from three years ago. That is to say, it covers a lot of ground at the expense of constructing a cohesive whole. In fact, the indecisiveness that has had him bed-hopping from label to label seems to manifest itself in the music here. He doesn't seem to know what he wants to do with it. The first few tracks feature an irritating sample of an child trying to use a record player, some kind of Gregorian chanting (with squeaky noises), what appears to be a ref's whistle and a duet of a belching contest. Really, it's all rather silly. Is this where electronic music should be headed? Frankly, no: with the incredible banks of technology available to the producers (plus their own outstanding abilities) it should be possible to make musical statements of more lasting value. Granted, electronic music that is slightly 'silly' is nothing new. In fact Normal Position did a great job of it earlier this year, and some even find Kraftwerk strangely amusing. But this doesn't have the guile or verve of either of those bands. OK, it's not all bad: Quadra Y Discos is densely funky and cool, Sci Fi Staircase recalls some vintage Orb trippiness, and Kwikwidetrax, the best thing here, is a delicious slice of sleazy funk and, as usual, the Vibert quality of production is top notch. But really, I can't see how this will endure, at least how it will endure later than his next album in five minutes time, though maybe that's the point of this electronic pop music.

It would be great if Luke Vibert finds a suitable label to settle down with: he has proved himself capable of much much more than this over the years, and it seems he would benefit from being able to focus more on whatever projects he decides to pursue, rather than running around in circles trying to cover too much ground. Impressive as it may be to produce such a quantity of music, sometimes it pays to make a more definitive statement of quality.
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