Lusine, which translates from Armenian to English as “moon,” is the stage moniker of Seattle transplant and IDM producer, Jeff McIlwain. In his fourth full length with Ghostly International, McIlwain takes a small step from his previously more pop induced sound. It is relaxing and intimate, while still being one of the grooviest dance records I’ve heard in a long time. Sensorimotor is like its own little ecosystem of textures and layers, that conveys a tasteful representation of Jeff’s production ability and innovation.
The record’s opener, “Canopy”, builds with a quiet and mellow array of chimes and reversed noises. For a little over two minutes, the atmospheric swirls grow and lead way into a crescendo of synth bass and heartbeat kick drum. By the time the journey is over, “Ticking Hands,” which features Jeff’s wife Sarah McIlwain, introduces itself as a bouncy ambient track with heavily layered percussion, glitchy bells, and sporadic synth lines. The myriad of different parts creates a wonderful juxtaposition to the steady and straightforward pads that keep everything floating forward. In “The Level”, we hear the celestial clamor and clash of numerous rhythms that are symbolic of Lusine’s sound. The last track is an uplifting, minimalistic electro-pop tune titled, “The Lift”. Although upbeat and giving a bright tone throughout, McIlwain counters the optimism with a breakdown that casts some darker shadows above. From there on out, the track builds through layers, density, and power, in a way that listeners can always count on Lusine to do.
Sensorimotor may not be as strong in Lusine’s pop capability as his previous releases. However, McIlwain offers up an array of talents on this album, flexing his muscles in different ways than we have seen before. He still gives us some of his classic chopped up vocal tunes and his minimalistic house tracks. In addition, we get some calming, floaty, beat less drone numbers, and some experimental trance songs. Overall, McIlwain does a great job creating a complete and well thought out LP, with plenty of ebb and flow. His style of musical narrative fuses the real world with cyberspace and allows the listener to let their imagination run wild, daydreaming through the many moods, moments and melodies.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: LUSINE – SENSORIMOTOR