Two years on from his preceding ‘Bizarster’ album on Planet Mu, Luke Vibert returns to Hypercolour with a collection that as its title suggests, offers up a nostalgic tribute to early UK rave, with Vibert deploying all of the tropes of the genre with a deftness that’s equal parts tongue-in-cheek and deeply sincere. It’s certainly an extroverted romp, with the headrush of retro rave samples, synth stabs and beats almost calling to mind some distorted funhouse take on early hardcore, triggering vivid flashbacks in middle-aged dance heads like myself whilst also resulting in a red cordial-like hangover when taken all in one dose.
Opening track ‘The Future’ gives a pretty good taste of what’s in store here, as jittery keyboard stabs and MC vocal samples give way to a juddering Reese-esque bassline and lithe 4/4 house rhythms, the entire track gliding forwards airlessly before vast buzzing synths begin to work their way towards the forefront, adding a dark growling edge that nicely counterbalances the cut-up diva samples and spring-loaded hi-hats. ‘U Can’t Touch Dat’ meanwhile takes things off on rattling ride through ragga-house atmospheres, as shuffling, offstep snares trace a path against wordless soul harmonies and a squelch-heavy analogue synth funk solo, the crisp drum-machine grooves tightening up against sampled crowd noise and MC exhortations.
By contrast, ‘Heard It All B4’ constructs a virtual shrine to 808 State’s classic ‘Pacific 202’ as a bass-laden electro intro section gives way to chunky ‘Amen’ breaks and that track’s signature layered ambient backing as a treated female vocal loops back and forth against fat squelching analogue tones. Elsewhere, ‘Stop Gap’ conjures up associations with Todd Terry’s classic garage-house productions as lithe house rhythms glide forwards against jazzy piano stabs and Kraftwerk-esque treated robo-vox, dropping the beats out entirely for some sampled rave MC crowd-rousing, before speeding back off on its streamlined airy trajectory amidst a swirl of glittering Rhodes keys. You’d expect Luke Vibert’s take on rave to be a pretty authoritative one, and in this case he doesn’t disappoint, whilst also throwing his own signature eccentricities into the mix.