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Wagon Christ: LuKe Vibert.
Luke Vibert's first LP for the fellow hip-hop obsessives at Ninja Tune is a back-to-basics record, recycling a few of the same ideas (and, occasionally, samples) of his Wagon Christ classic Throbbing Pouch from 1994. And though it's difficult to knock the pioneering flavor of Throbbing Pouch, Musipal may be an even better record -- despite the dozens of hilarious samples that open the album on "The Premise," it's definitely a more mature album, with clearer ideas and a better production framework for them. Though "Thick Stew" uses some very familiar -- at least to Wagon Christ fans -- syrupy, distorted basslines, it's arguably a better track than the Throbbing Pouch classic. Thankfully, there are only a few nods to the queasy-listening flavor of his wider-issue releases through Astralwerks, and plenty of only-for-the-smokers tracks like "Boney L" and "It Is Always Now, All of It Is Now." Throw in two drum'n'bass burners ("Natural Suction," "Perkission") and an interesting take on up-tempo live funk ("Receiver"), and listeners are left with a solid production LP that can't quite knock off a touchstone like Throbbing Pouch, but definitely makes its own statement. ~ John Bush
Rolling Stone (4/12/01, p.142) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...This is cool, pleasantly disposable modern-lounge music...subtly bumping and steadily chilling..."
Q (4/01, p.113) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Avant-garde techno...Musipal is bonkers....Not so much an album as a world in itself..."
Alternative Press (4/01, p.88) - 4 out of 5 - "...It's hard to sit still listening to this....it will have you doing all sorts of interpretive dancing..."
Magnet (6-7/01, p.111) - "...The humor is subtler, the samples smarter, the construction more delicate..."
The Wire (5/01, p.74) - "...Further encounters of the naggingly familiar kind....Not big, not clever, but still fun."
NME (Magazine) (4/7/01, p.42) - 7 out of 10 - "...An intriguing procession of cheeky collages..."
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