If I could offer up one electronic album to the world it would be this one, Lusine has always been a wizard when it comes to expansion and beauty, while maintaining the highest quality sound design without it ever being too experimental to drive off any new listeners. Songs like “Stratus” makes you feel like your skydiving in your chair, while “Panoramic” builds up to what feels like your doing donuts in a convertible in slow motion in the desert after the best day with your good friends. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Seattle-based producer Jeff McIlwain’s work has long inhabited the fertile border zone between electronic pop and experimental electronic music — it’s a place that’s home to music that has both a brain and a heart, and McIlwain’s been exploring its boundaries for the best part of a decade now.
The Waiting Room is his third full-length release for Ghostly International under the moniker Lusine, and his first album since 2009’s A Certain Distance. As with all McIlwain’s work as Lusine, this is a record that’s characterized by both diversity and coherency. Its tracks traverse a variety of sonic landscapes, from the widescreen atmospherics of appropriately-titled opening track “Panoramic” through the digital soul arrangement of Electronic’s “Get the Message” and the club-friendly bounce of “First Call” to the slow-building Detroit-inflected closer “February”.
But for all The Waiting Room’s eclecticism, it’s also notable that it plays out as a coherent whole, with McIlwain’s deft production creating the sense of a single, logical journey — an album, rather than a simple collection of tracks. It also continues the excursions into vocal-led tracks that characterized A Certain Distance — exactly half of The Waiting Room’s ten tracks employ vocalists, most notably the aforementioned “Get the Message,” wherein guest vocalist and wife Sarah McIlwain makes Bernard Sumner’s words her own: “I don’t know where to begin / Living in sin,” she sings calmly, “How can you talk? / Look where you’ve been.”
As a whole, this is an album that’s both cerebral and visceral, a record that’s both rewarding of a serious headphone session and also warm and melodic enough to make listening as engaging in an emotional sense as it is in an intellectual one. Many artists flirt with these two extremities of electronic music; few tie them together as well as McIlwain does.
Headed west! Rolled out of Bozeman, MT today — halfway to Seattle for the Ghostly Showcase at Decibel Fest this Saturday (9/29/12) with Matthew Dear and Lusine at Showbox. Going to be a great night, we have a 10K projector lined up so the visuals should be especially intense for this one. See you in Seattle!
This is the second in a new series of interviews where one artist interviews another, five questions each. Lately i’ve been hearing daily interviews and I’ve noticed too many similar questions keep coming up again and again. I’m hoping that the artist/artist format can give readers a better idea of what’s on the artist’s minds. I’ve also asked each artist to pick two songs which they’ve been listening to, all of which are posted above.
LOSCIL INTERVIEWING LUSINE
LOSCIL: If the world lost electricity tomorrow, would you continue to make music and how?
LUSINE: I would for sure. I used to plink around on the piano quite a lot. But, I’m not great at trying to come up with musical concepts before I mess with samples first, so it would be a challenge to write. And I think it would force me to collaborate a lot more, something I’m not always great at.
LOSCIL: Being a resident of the Republic of Cascadia, how (if at all) has this place influenced your music?
LUSINE: I love it up here. I think it’s nice to write music when it’s rainy outside, and it’s also a great place to escape the studio and go on a quick hike. As much as I love the big city, being in Seattle gives you a nice balance between the urban and natural settings.
LOSCIL: I’ve not heard any of your soundtrack work but I would really love to know more about this as I’m a big fan of soundtracks in general. How does your approach to music change when you work on soundtracks?
LUSINE: It changes in the sense that I’m not really making the music for myself. It’s nice to take direction and have a clear focus on what sound the director wants. And it forces me outside of my own set style limitations. It’s a good way to learn how to write different music and use instrumentation I normally wouldn’t use. But, I like to be able to balance that with the total freedom of making my own music, so I can take what I learned and apply it to my own music.
LOSCIL: Assuming music is your first love, what form of art is second closest to your heart either as a maker or appreciator?
LUSINE: Film. I am a slight bit of a nerd when it comes to movies, and maybe a bit too critical (or so my friends seem to think). But, it’s definitely my first outlet when I am wanting to think critically about an artform that I’m not completely invested in (although that has been changing over the years).
LOSCIL: What is your favourite sound and why?
LUSINE: My favorite sound?? When all is said and done, it’s probably the sound of laughter.
LUSINE INTERVIEWING LOSCIL
LUSINE: I think that maybe I hear a lot of ebow in your later releases. Regardless, it inspired me to get an ebow myself.Do you write any of your music on the guitar first, before layering it with electronic sounds?
LOSCIL: I didn’t play the ebow parts on Plume, they were played by my best friend Steve Wood and my lovely lady Krista Marshall. Despite being a guitarist, I seldom use the guitar in the creation of loscil music. Motoc is an exception. The main chord progression on that was created on the guitar and the pads are formed out of samples from those chords recorded on a classical guitar.
LUSINE: I still kind of have gearlust, despite that fact that a lot of the things I’m interested in probably won’t change my music all that much. Do you still have instruments or equipment that you would like to add to your studio?
LOSCIL: It’s funny because although I too love gear, I’ve always been a bit of an economist (read cheapskate) in this department. For years as a drummer, I didn’t own my own drums. But every now and then I certainly succumb to the desire to own some special piece of gear. The Monome is up there on my list.
LUSINE: Does making sounds for video games give you any ideas that you can use in your solo work?
LOSCIL: Sometimes. The fortunate thing about my day job is I’m always practicing and honing my sound design and composition skills. It is a real joy to spend most of my days thinking about sound. On the other hand, I tend to do a lot of the same things at work. It is a job after all. Spending long hours during the day in front of the computer does not bode well for doing the same with my evenings and weekends so it can be a struggle at times to sit down to work on loscil after working on game audio 40+ hours a week.
LUSINE: How long have you lived in Vancouver? What’s your favorite aspect of that city?
LOSCIL: I’ve been here for a little over 20 years now which is hard to believe. Vancouver’s physical beauty is pretty hard to escape. We are surrounded by mountains, forests and oceans and they are all accessible. The population is growing but it is still reasonable. The coffee and beer are good.
LUSINE: Is there any sort of emotional subtext, or something that inspires you to write such hypnotic and fluid music (possibly other artists/artforms past/present?
LOSCIL: If there’s a subtext, it is pretty subconscious. I’m ultimately inspired and motivated by feeling itself. I enjoy the moment I can create a chord progression or a particular texture that speaks to me and feels expressive of something I cannot otherwise express… it’s not something that I can put into words or draw on paper or realize in any other fashion – it is just that gut feeling of something having meaning beyond myself. Ultimately, I’m inspired by many musicians of all sorts but I think it’s that core act of searching for expression that inspires me to continue to make music.
If you’ve been following this whole lo-fi lazy summer meets surf rock movement with bands like Real Estate, Washed Out, The Young Friends,Small Black, etc. there is a whole range of tones and tempos. One band that needs more releases out is this Beach Fossils group which I think has some great guitar parts, i’ll keep you updated on new material by them since they sound pretty promising.
Sbtrkt is one of the guys that has hit me over email with tracks, I really love his production work, he has a line list of releases this year and one that really impressed my ears was his remix for Modeselektor, looking forward to the vinyl.
If you’ve read the blog for awhile now you know I love Lusine, I suggested him and Hatchback to remix Tycho awhile back for Coastal Brake. This single which came out this week shows off more of his new direction of using a lot more female vocals which is the perfect follow up the his Two Dots single.
Below is the new Jonsi(singer of Sigur Ros) music video, I like his direction, he definitely stays with his sound and is pretty fearless visually.
I often like to click on ISO50 commenters links connected to their names just to see what there all about and recently clicked on AndresM and found out what they(I guess a couple shares this account? :] ) wanted for Christmas hah, It was this close to affordable alternative to a Super 8mm video camera but in digital called a Zumi. Here is a pretty decent example of footage, not bad for the 170USD price tag:
Now for the music, I think everyone will be very happy to hear this Swod song and give this Lusine track a try, the second half of it builds like a Lusine classic.
I’ll be heading up to Seattle later this month to Play the Ghostly 10 year show at Decibel Fest. Last year was great so really looking forward to this one.
You can see the flyer for the show above. I went with a slightly modified version of the Chicago poster / Ten Year Print to change it up a little. With this one I was going for more of a flyer/handbill feel as opposed to a poster.
Here are all the details, hope to see you out there…
Seattle Art Museum
1300 First Avenue
Seattle, WA United States
Ghostly celebrates 10 years at this years Decibel Festival.
The 2009 edition of Seattle’s Decibel Festival takes place September 24th through the 27th, and Ghostly is kicking it off at the SAM for the opening gala on Thursday the 24th.
Australian’s like The Canyons have been putting out some great disco as of late, really good rhythm and guitar additions, really gives the songs this authentic non digital feel.
One of my favorite Lusine songs has to be Rushhour, its one of those songs that pays off if you listen to it from start to finish, no patience with the beginning will get you nowhere. Once you get to the 4 min mark you’ll know i’m talking about but the only way to truly enjoy it is listening to the detail in the build up to it, it literally sounds like the a thousand knifes being sharped by your ears while you try to run away from the highest quality low end that monsoons over your precious town.
Eliot Lipp and Leo123 collab again since their original material debut on Ghostly Swim and leak a cutup west coast indie club bomb for their North American tour, real solid work by the two.
Mountains sway the Thrill Jockey catalog up another step on the quality end by unleashing an absolutely phenomenal droned out LP, the real pleasure hear is having the whole LP and playing it start to finish, highly recommend atleast having the song Telescope.
Ten years ago, I was a lowly, heartbroken college freshman, working with my friends Disco D and Matthew Dear on our first single, “Hands Up for Detroit”. Now, after a decade of hard work, finding an amazing team, and a little bit of luck, we’re fortunate enough to celebrate with our artists and friends.
Toronto will be a special date: the Drake Hotel is one of Tycho’s favorite venues (Scott said it was one of his best shows yet.) We always have a great time whenever the team plays there. Tickets are on sale now and discounted here.
Here are a few tracks from each of the Toronto show’s artists – including a Tycho debut.
Lusine – Two Dots
[audio:twodots.mp3] Lusine has a new album on the way, and (perhaps non-objectively) I’d venture to say it’s his best.
Here’s the first single, featuring the lovely voice of Vilja Larjosto.
Secret Frequency Crew – Neon Bridge
Here’s a song from Adrian Michna’s old group, Secret Frequency Crew, who were on the classic Schematic label. Forest Of The Echo Downs really caught my attention and made our best-of-the-year list back in ’04. It was a good preview of what was to come (busted jazz, stabbing horns, skittering Miami machinedrums) with Michna.
Milosh – Move On
Mike Milosh occupies a very distinct space in electronic music with his subtle programming and weak-in-the-knees vocals. He just released a new EP with Paul Phisterer which will make you want to plant a tree it’s so pretty.
Tycho – Coastal Brake (Manual remix)
There’s this guy Tycho who’s pretty good too. He’s got a new single coming out this summer with some great remixes. Here’s an exclusive debut of Manual‘s remix of the forthcoming “Coastal Brake.”