Jeff McIlwain aka Lusine recently released his new long player “A Certain Distance” on Ghostly International. Fans of his Detroit tinged IDM have been waiting for this since “Serial Hodgepodge” came out in 2004. While McIlwain also released “Language Barrier” under his Lusine ICL moniker in 2007, it’s his beat-oriented material that his fans were itching for, rather than his more stripped down atmospherics, and he does not disappoint with “A Certain Distance”.
I am a fan of all his stuff, ambient or 4/4, and for me “A Certain Distance” seems a perfect blend of McIlwain’s musical aesthetic. An album of deep, emotional IDM which rewards a little more with each listen. Some critics seem wary to accept the album’s slightly more “pop” sensibility, wishing it was colder or more clinical, unable to embrace the addition of female vocals to a few of the tracks, but I find the cut-up and skewed vocals a welcome addition. They add a warm feel to Lusine’s clipped beats and deep synth lines. The track “Gravity” with its stuttering voice and plunging bass drops is definitely a highlight. “Crowded Room” follows and gives fans close to six minutes of sprawling Detroit techno bliss, sure to be a part of many a DJ set this year.
I think Lusine is one of electronic music’s underrated darlings, and I don’t care if “A Certain Distance” is perhaps a bit more accessible than “Serial Hodgepodge”, because I am happy to see McIlwain grow as an artist and continue to refine his sound(s). Seeing him this spring as part of Ghostly’s 10th Anniversary Bash was one of the year’s highlights for me – and even though his set was short and he played a bit too early in the night he still absolutely killed it. His music is melodic and rich and worthy of both headphones and the dance floor. “A Certain Distance” has been on constant rotation for me since its release, and no doubt will be, for months to come.
Check it and wreck it.