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Luke
Vibert: Bizarster (Planet µ)

Luke
Vibert, for all his aliases and monikers, has one fairly consistent
element throughout most of his backcatalogue: a sense of humor. This
is not to reduce his albums to mere cheap jokes, because clearly his
talents exceed that, but his almost goofy use of samples and hooks
often shows off not only a thorough plumbing of records of the past
but also a cleverness for recontextualization that is tongue and
cheek and would feel ironic if not for a certain sense of reverence
for dance music history. Bizarster is perhaps a culmination of some
of his various incarnations and projects, once again donning his own
name to release music on Mike Paradinas’ Planet µ imprint, for whom
he’s already done multiple albums over the last ten years or so. The
biggest difference between Bizarster and some of his other albums
under his own name is that it seems to be more infused with the
down- and mid-tempo grooves and cheeky sampling that I’ve typically associated
with his original focus, Wagon Christ.

Opener “Knockout” recalls the goofy, jaunty attitude of his Wagon
Christ album Tally Ho! Many tracks share that sensibility of mid
tempo grooves, chunky rhythms and unabashedly tongue in cheek
sampling, but there are shifts in tempo to honor Vibert’s more upbeat
impulses as well. “Officer’s Club” is the skewed mirror image of
his Kerrier District project, which focuses on disco and italo
sounds, while “Ghetto Blast Ya” is a bouncing acid house
throwback (complete with well-timed Karen Finley samples à la
S’Express). Some of the fresher tracks to my ears pull from the past
as much as the present and result in something weird and wonderful:
“Hey Go” is such a case, with its strange detuned synths and
lurching halfbeat.

“Manalog” recalls some of his bleepier sounds
on 2006’s Yoseph, in contrast to the downtempo swagger of the title
cut which has a distinctly Wagon Christ vibe about it. He even
throwns down a closing track that would sound right at home next to
vintage Squarepusher or µ-Ziq, sort of connecting all of the dots as
a final nod, until its ridiculous vocal starts to lead the way toward
the finish line. But my favorite of the bunch is “I Can Phil It”
which hinges almost entirely on a looping sample of Phil Collins’ “In
the Air Tonight” as well as Fingers Inc.’s “Can You Feel It” —
a combo that would be too goofy for its own good if it weren’t so
damn perfect!

It’s a perfectly named album, because it’s silly and
weird and all over the place, and yet it shows off Vibert’s chops in
all the right ways over and over again. Top notch production, the
right balance of past and present, and a hearty sense of humor make
Bizarster one of my recent favorites.

Buy it: Planet µ | Boomkat | Bleep | iTunes | Amazon