It's been an immensely busy, albeit successful 2009 for Lucien Nicolet. Not only has he successfully restructured his own Cadenza label, he's again racked up the air miles with various high profile gigs around the globe, eventually launched his much publicised Aether live show at Monegros festival with his Cadenza contemporaries, and since mid July, is throwing weekly day time parties at his residency at Ibiza's latest bastion of cool, Ushuaia. Phew. As if to throw the icing on the cake then, his most anticipated project of the year is nearly upon us, the October release of his second artist album, entitled Tribute To The Sun.
Those who have witnessed an extended Luciano set should know what to expect from this, his first full length LP since 2004's Blind Behaviour; a flurry of the weird, the funky, the left field, the ambient, the experimental, the upbeat, the downbeat, the unusual and any other similar adjective you decide to throw in to the mix right here. Fans who purchase the album on the basis of his last major release, Fabric 41, may well be disappointed however, especially if they're expecting a full on techno/house assault. Though that isn't to say Luciano has entirely neglected the kick drum which he's set his career foundations on. 'Tribute' of course, is a stark contrast to the fervently celebrated aforementioned mix CD. While the latter essentially crams a peak time Luciano set in to just under the 80 minute mark, this LP is a very different kind of beast - while it also clocks in at just under the 80 minute mark, this is where the comparisons between the two come to a halt.
What 'Tribute' does do however, is capture the emotion of an extended Luciano set, where time constraints and other nuisances need not be a hindrance, where the audience and indeed the listener, really get to see the Dj and the producer, really flex his creative muscle. The album as a whole then, sees the Chilean ex-pat at his most assured, showcasing his musical personality perfectly. Measured and eclectic in equal measure, it's an apt snapshot of the mustached one's career at this moment in time. Those tribal African vocals you've been hearing him sample over the past while? Try opening track 'Los Ninos de Fuera' for size. The trance-esque female ones hanging over those old school tracks he's been championing of late? 'Celestial' featuring Liberty by Keren Ann should tick that box nicely (though at twelve minutes long, it's surely worthy of a rework.) The downtempo moment? That'd belong to 'Sun, Day and Night' featuring Martina Topley-Bird. The melodic experiment? See 'Conspirer'. The ambient chilled out moment? 'Hang for Bruno.' I could go on on a similar vein, but I'm sure you're starting to get the point here folks.
For an electronic artist, more so than say, their rock music peers, sculpting an album can often be a daunting task. How can an album tell a story, or even bring the audience on the cliched 'musical journey' without including 10 dance floor anthems of similar resonance? How can an album be structured if the tracks vary so wildly in sound and style? It's a tribute to Luciano's craftsmanship as a producer that he's managed to shrewdly mesh the mimimal eeriness of closing tracks 'Metodismo' and 'Oenologue', alongside more down tempo, chilled out productions, all the time constructing their togetherness to blend like a most natural marriage of sounds.
Senor Nicolet has undoubtedly crafted a coherent listening experience for sure. Yes, it's experimental, it's different, and it's certainly not the kind of record an unestablished artist would ever consider releasing. But then again, an unestablished artist wouldn't dare depict themselves as the second coming of Christ on the cover either. Ironically, Luciano himself has always questioned how a Dj can be defined by a mix CD when arguably the core component of clubbing, the atmosphere, is absent from proceedings. It may be no mix CD, but with 'Tribute', it seems Luciano has in some accidental purpose, bridged the gap between his live sets and a made-for-home-listening CD, through recapturing the intimacy of his solo performances.
There's also the small matter of the accompanying DVD, La Ruta del Sol, included in the pack, which captures Luciano's recent South American tour, documenting his travels through Peru, Brazil and of course, his native Chile. The world premiere takes place on the 22nd September at Ushuaia Ibiza, just before the White Isle's tourist season effectively shuts up shop for another year. If the DVD doesn't make you yearn for sunny days dancing to Luciano's music, chances are 'Tribute' will. A stellar and worthwhile effort, and for educated Luciano fans, one that will undoubtedly go down a treat.
|Our Rating: 8/10|