It's been a long time coming, but, after ten years, Luke Vibert has finally made it to his spiritual home, Warp, and released an album of good old acid. Not that he hadn't tried to flog a few of his acid tracks here and there before, but they always seem to get in the way of his other love: hip-hop. Although the man has been rather prolific since he released his debut, Phat Lab Nightmare, released under the Wagon Christ banner, back in 1994, dabbling in genres as diverse as ambient, drum'n'bass (who could forget the little gem that was Drum'n'Bass For Papa as Plug), electro or dub, Vibert remains best known for his hip-hop flavoured electronica and his cut'n'paste approach. So this new album offers a refreshing insight into his vast musical landscape.
Determined to make a point, with the first extract from this album shouting loud and clear I Love Acid and insisting on the pH at the end of the title for this ninth album, Luke Vibert sets the record straight. Acid is neither dead nor irrelevant. But, don't be mistaken. This album is not a nostalgic journey into late eighties dance music. Quite the opposite. Vibert might have played around with his 303 for years, but YosepH is resolutely modern. Although bearing all the characteristics of the genre, evoking in turn the best moments of 808 States - that'll be everything before they started rubbing shoulders with celebs - and his mate Aphex's Polygonic excursions, this album is resolutely modern. Starting in surprisingly subdued fashion with the indolent and sumptuous Liptones, YosepH soon asserts its identity with Synthax and Freak Time Baby, arguably the most classic acid moment here. A master as crafting incredibly complex yet accessible tracks, Luke unusually juggles here with linear beats, clean bass lines and straightforward melodies. Yet, the unmistakable Vibert touch is palpable all the way through. The use of familiar vocal samples on Freak Time Baby, Countdown or the ominous Ambalek wouldn't have sounded out of place on Big Soup or Tally Ho, and the meticulous approach to his sonic environment remains intact. Although deceptively simple in appearance, these thirteen tracks develop over intricate textures. The splendid I Love Acid is a perfect example. Kicking off as a Kraftwerk parody, it soon incorporates some nasty 303 assault. Acidisco proves even more fascinating as the beat progressively rolls in and Vibert fools around, while the title track is a virulent revision of 808 State's Cubik.
Listening to YosepH, it suddenly seems absurd that Luke's acid hasn't generated much interest from his past labels until now. That it's taken ten years for Warp to get him on board to finally collate what undoubtedly represent a drop in his vast collection of unreleased material can therefore be welcome with even more joy. Luke's made it home, and he's brought with him his most compelling album to date.