Wagon Christ – Toomorrow (Ninja Tune/Inertia)

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Wagon Christ

While UK-based electronic producer Luke Vibert has been responsible for a steady stream of releases in recent years under his seemingly ever-multiplaying aliases, it’s been quite a while since he last turned his hand to a Wagon Christ album since 2004’s ‘Sorry I Make You Lush’ collection, in fact. Seven years on, this sixth Wagon Christ album ‘Toomorrow’ sees Vibert in characteristic form, fusing eccentric samples and fat wobbling analogue basslines with that signature snapping snare sound, indeed, upon first listening it’s remarkable just how little has changed sonically in Wagon Christ-land, with more recent UK developments such as grime, wonky and dubstep seemingly exerting no discernible influence on the sixteen tracks collected here. That said, the Wagon Christ moniker has always previously been the home of Vibert’s most texturally lush arrangements, and in that respect ‘Toomorrow’ certainly doesn’t disappoint, with Vibert taking his eccentric grooves to even greater levels of detail.

After ‘Introfunktion’ kicks proceedings open with a ‘Solid Steel’-esque mass of sampled MC hype-ups, Speak N’ Spell voice synthesis and smooth hiphop grooves, bendy analogue synth notes glimmering in the foreground, ‘Ain’t He Heavy, He’s My Brother’ soon drops things straight into well lived-in territory, as sampled James Brown-esque exhortations dart back and forth over a lush backdrop of swirling easy-listening orchestration, glimmering Hammond organ keys and fat slap-back bass, the fanged snare sounds injecting a crisp snapping edge that nicely offsets the blurred-out soul elements. Elsewhere, ‘My Lonely Scene’ offers what’s easily the most eerily groovy moment here, sending creepy analogue synth arpeggios and tweaked vocals clinging tightly to a flexing backdrop of streamlined electro-house beats and growling acid bass squelches, while ‘Sentimental Hardcore’ sees things back in territory that’s likely to be extremely familiar to fans of Wagon Christ’s more cinematically-arranged outings, sending a lush backdrop of flutes rolling out beneath samples of a radio announcer warning of an impending earthquake, and as is trademark by now for Vibert, he’s managed to squeeze some samples of his kids in there. While ‘Toomorrow’ sees Vibert applying an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’s philosophy to his established aesthetic, fans of his previous outings as Wagon Christ are in safe hands here.

Chris Downton

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