Release Date: Oct 30, 2012
Record label: Ninja Tune
Since Lukid is signed to Actress' Werkdiscs label, it can be tempting to see the producer (real name: Luke Blair) a disciple. While both producers are sensitive to the meditative power of repetition and decay, Actress' distillation of Detroit techno is not central to Lukid's story. On Lonely at the Top, Lukid's fourth and finest album to date, he has more in common with the teasing ambiguity of Dean Blunt & Inga Copeland and the mood-molding of Holy Other.
Lukid's fourth full-length record, out on Werk Discs and Ninja Tune, triumphs with distinctive compositional and rhythmic verve; it's a Technicolor mission statement, an attempt to quantify synaesthesia, slipping into a pool of parts that line up in twisted conjunction. Lonely at the Top touches down halfway between its centerpieces ("Bless My Heart," "USSR" and the title track) and a variety of beat collages and interludes ("Manchester," "Tomorrow" and "Laroche"). Lukid (née Luke Blair) is the most focused he's been, hammering home a borderline schizophrenic eclecticism in this latest distillation of the Lukid sound.
Luke Blair seems to relish portraying himself as an underachieving sad-sack. He named his label Glum, for one. Actress once called him "a bit of a Charlie Brown character," and a glance at his online presence reveals a self-deprecating hypochondriac. Even as Cunningham seemingly outgrows Werk Discs—to the point where he's referencing John Milton and appearing in fashion videos—Blair remains his stubborn, earthy counterpart, releasing music that's as gruff and immediate as it is quietly innovative.Still, with three albums and four EPs behind Lonely at the Top, Blair might be expected to produce an elaborate record, though he did provide a score for his brother Sam's feature film, Personal Best, earlier in the year.
Lukid’s Lonely at the Top explores a wide range of interesting electronic sounds, and each track offers the listener something just a wee bit different than the last. The previous statement is mostly meant as praise, but Lonely at the Top can be a little bit difficult to settle into and wrap your mind around. Tracks like “Snow Theme” offer short, impressive bursts of ambiance that fill themselves out with fuzzy, hissing background noise that might be water boiling or the eponymous snowfall, whereas opening track “Dusty Old Plane” sounds like something from DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing.
A sometimes messy mix of styles – but when it works, it’s remarkable. Chris Power 2012 Lukid (Luke Blair), like his label boss and sometime production partner Actress, doesn’t limit himself to one style. Instead he prefers to open up the cages and let techno, hip hop, bass and electro crawl all over each other. As methods go it can be messy, but it also throws up some interesting hybrids.