Possibly the most original of the neo-ambient trip-hoppers was
Luke Vibert, also known as Wagon Christ, a protagonist of the British scene
since the early 1990s.
Luke Vibert devoted his project Wagon Christ to the ambient side of the trip-hop equation with Phat Lab Nightmare (1994) and especially with the celestial trance of Throbbing Pouch (1995), exhuding abandon and fatalism. Massive sampling of orchestral sounds gave Tally Ho! (1998) an almost symphonic grandeur.
in 1994 Vibert's talent was featured on a series of recordings:
the EP Sunset Boulevard (Rising High, 1994),
the album Phat Lab Nightmare (Rising High, 1994),
with the ever more psychological Mahadelic and Aerhaart,
and the EP At Atmos (Rising High, 1994), that moved towards a more
percussive approach with the likes of
inside Out and Hasjit.
These recordings were influential in redefining the standard for
ambient rave music.
il piu` originale dei trip-hopper
neo-ambientali Britannici e` forse Luke Vibert, noto
come Wagon Christ. Nel giro di pochi mesi uscirono
l'EP Sunset Boulevard (Rising High, 1994),
l'album Phat Lab Nightmare (Rising High, 1994),
con le atmosfere psicologiche di Mahadelic e Aerhaart,
e l'EP At Atmos (Rising High, 1994),
contenente due brani piu` percussivi come inside Out e
che ebbero il merito di
ridefinire lo standard per la musica rave-ambientale.
Throbbing Pouch (Rising High, 1995) is a sophisticated work of sampling
that bridges the gap between jazz bands, electronic music, movie soundtracks
and orchestral pop. The fluctuations of the sound sources have a neurotic
quality that injects subtle atonality in Vibert's instrumental jams.
The album is neatly divided into party tracks and philosophical tracks.
Reedin mixes a horns fanfare (that slowly decomposes), gamelan
percussion, drum'n'bass beat, dischordant breaks, and industrial tapping.
Floot's cheerful flute march presides over a sequence of rhythmic
The celestial trance of Spotlight hides echoes of
Morricone soundtracks and ethnic folk tunes.
Scrapes is just debris of music reassembled to jam and dance.
These experiments are highlighted by Vibert's sense of humour,
besides his studio skills.
The alter ego takes over pensive tracks like
Down Under, a slow-motion psychedelic shuffle oppressed by a sense
of abandon and fatalism (boasting even an interlude for Japanese string
Rexcist, a languid ambient texture roamed by booming bass, and
Pull My Strings, a middle-eastern theme that surfs
in between, Vibert concocts sophisticated trip-hop atmospheres.
The bass-heavy funky rhythm of Throbbing Pouch is set to
dissonant keyboard drones.
The pulsing Phase Everyday plays tiny bits of noises against
the jazzy mumblings of the keyboards and of the bass.
The tecnique tends to repeat itself (progressive alteration during repetition
of polished dissonance, a sort of barbaric minimalism set to dance beats), but
Vibert aims for the psychology and scores with several mood-pieces of minimal
beauty but formidable intensity.
Throbbing Pouch (Rising High, 1995) e`
un'opera raffinata di campionamento che stende un ponte fra le bande jazz,
la musica elettronica, le colonne sonore e la musica leggera orchestrale.
Le fluttuazioni delle sorgenti sonore hanno una qualita` nevrotica che immette
nelle sue jam strumentali una subdola atonalita`.
La title-track e tutta la prima parte sono spettacolari.
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il 1995 si chiude con gli EP Rissalecki, con How You Really Feel,
A nome di Vibert sono usciti l'album Weirs (Rephlex, 1993),
che raccoglie il primo materiale del 1991-92 con esperimenti auto-indulgenti
come Reservoir (venti minuti),
e i singoli A Polished Solid (Mo' Wax, 1995) e
Do Unto Others/ Dance Music (Mo' Wax, 1997),
all'insegna di un hip hop molto piu` convenzionale.
Big Soup (Mo' Wax, 1997) compie invece un'ardita e subdola operazione di
Voyage into The Unknown,
Rank Rink Ring e Reality Check, arrivando
a lambire il trip-hop.
Vibert ha coniato una singolare fusione di stilemi dell'hip hop
e di prassi elettroniche che lo porta a fabbricare ritmiche sempre
Come Plug lo stesso Vibert ha all'attivo opere cervellotiche come
gli EP Visible Crater Funk (Rising High, 1995) e
Rebuilt Kev (Rising High, 1995),
poi raccolti su Plug 1 + 2 (Blue Angel, 1996).
La passione per le melodie della musica leggera e le atmosfere dei film noir
gli prende la mano sull'EP Versatile Crib Funk (Rising High, 1995), con
e sull'album Drums'n'Bass For Papa (Nothing, 1997),
che compila l'EP omonimo del 1996 e tre EP.
volgarizzano il programma di Plug in direzione dei generi da ballo di
il singolo Me And Mr Jones e il collage di Life Of The Mind sono
i momenti piu` geniali (il secondo e` omesso dall'edizione Americana), ma
anche Drums'n'Bass For Papa, Cur, Delicious,
Maker Of All intrattengono con creativita`.
Altri pezzi dimenticati dell'epoca (1996) verranno pubblicati solo 16 anni dopo
su Back on Time (2012).
Wagon Christ torna con il singolo
London is A Country (Electro Bunker Cologne, 1997) e
l'EP The Power of Love (Astralwerks, 1998).
Wagon Christ's Tally Ho! (Astralwerks, 1998) continues Vibert's
experiments with jazz (Fly Swat), hip hop (Memory Towel),
funk (My Organ in Your Face, Juicy Luke Vibert),
drum'n'bass (Rendlesnack), but his genius for bizarre beats and
unnerving atmospheres is best displayed in the anomalous tracks
(Tally Ho, Piano Playa Hata, Crazy Disco Party)
and in a few psychedelic touches (Shimmering Haze, Lovely).
The massive sampling of orchestral sounds gives the album an almost
Stop The Panic (Astralwerks, 2000), credited to Luke Vibert, is
a collaboration with veteran
steel guitarist BJ Cole. The duo runs the gamut of country
(Hipalong Hop), jungle (Baby Steps),
funk (Start The Panic),
rhythm and blues (Dischordzilla),
world-beat (Cheng Phoey) with a light and serene attitude that
contrasts with Vibert's neurotic beginnings.
Wagon Christ's Musipal (Ninja Tune, 2001)
could be Luke Vibert's least ambitious work ever, but also his most
infectious. The core of the album are bouncy (but not overwhelming)
tracks such as the eight-minute Thick Stew (with a swinging jazz piano),
Perkission (Caribbean rhythm, disco swells)
and Musipal (a relaxing lounge/exotic shuffle)
that radiate optimism and happiness. Vibert
steals` ideas from musical stereotype that meant "having a good
time", even jazz big-bands of the swing era (it is Always Now) and
easy-listening orchestras of the 1960s (Tomorrow Acid).
The witty use of samples created comic takes on rap, funk and soul such as Chris Chana and Receiver.
The flute, organ and theremin motif of Bend Over and the
lounge piano of Tomach
interrupt the breakbeat fun with relaxing and retro atmospheres.
This is mindless muzak made of droll novelties.
However, the merging of ambient music and drum'n'bass
also yields the eerie Natural Suction, dominated by ghostly keyboards.
Alas, the spoken-word passages detract from the overall experience.
Luke Vibert's YosepH (Warp, 2003) is another massive disappointment.
The tracks are barely sketched, as if Vibert was cooking pasta and
playing videogames while arranging them. I Love Acid simply recycles
Continuing the slide into simpler, brainless dance-music,
Wagon Christ's Sorry i Make You Lush (Ninja Tune, 2004) is a little tedious compendium of Vibert's styles.
Luke Vibert's Kerrier District (Rephlex, 2004) proves that the eclectic
musician is still looking for new sources of inspiration, but hardly proves
that he has the talent to implement his visions. Like most of his previous
albums, this one sounds mostly like low-quality dejavu.
Luke Vibert's Lover's Acid (Planet Mu, 2005) collects three Eps:
Homewerk (2002) and Lover's Acid (2005).
in a sense, they highlight his best skills: crossing boundaries and pasting
Funky Acid Stuff,
Come On Chaos
all try (with mixed results) to bridge
hip-hop, jazz, acid house and drum-n-bass.
But perhaps the more entertaining (and less derivative) moments are the two
pieces that hark back to electronic dadaism: Homewerk and Analord.
With the exception of closing Flyover, melody is notably absent.
Ace Of Clubs is Vibert's "acid-hop" alter-ego, born in 2002. Its first album was
Chicago Detroit Redruth (Planet Mu, 2007) sounds like a summary of his career, running the gamut from drum'n'bass to acid house to IDM to downtempo to jazz-rock, peaking with the visionary Breakbeat Metal Music.
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