Cuidad de Luz

CADENZA49 / May 10, 2010

 

Luciano must be feeling generous. Fresh off his premiere release for Cadenza’s new digital label Cadenza Lab, featuring the long, languid “La Nuve” and “Amael Drama,” our Swiss-Chilean hero returns with a major double-pack for Cadenza proper, featuring four more remarkable tracks that capture his many versatile talents, from driving house tools to psychedelic anthems to bright, melodic, electronica.

Making the release even more significant is the fact that this is Luciano’s first release under his Lucien-N-Luciano alias since 2004. There’s no doubt that lucky Lucien is on a roll. (Put together, the two EPs add up to 79 minutes music—that’s more than most albums!)

“Somewhere We’ve Got” is a wide-eyed frolic set to a loping beat and snares that crumple like paper bags. Rhodes and organ walk through the bluesy changes, and the high end moves like a flock of butterflies across numerous, flashing leads. Almost eight minutes long it’s the perfect breather, perfect for twisting up the vibe of any set.

Despite its unassuming title, “House Toolʼs House” is an anthem by any other name, with rich chords straddling fifths on the scale, and disembodied female vocals taking the lead; modal glockenspiel melodies and intricately swung Latin percussion lend sparkle and motion. The whoe thing is one long, sustained climax, a plateau of endless grace.

At nearly 17 minutes long, “Behinf My Soul” is the longest track here, and it’s also the darkest. Darkly EQ’d hand percussion sets the scene with claustrophobic, rain-forest vibes; thundering tympani and wave upon wave of distant bells only reinforce the feeling that the sky is splitting wide open. The first half sucks you in; the second wraps you up in haunted organ solo. By the end, as though flushed of toxins, you feel reborn.

Finally, “Melodrama” marks a rare return to Luciano’s very earliest sound, with the kind of skittering micro-rhythms and jewel-toned melodies familiar from his Live at Weetamix CD. The title doesn’t lie, as Luciano shows himself unafraid to go after big emotion with sweeping string pads and mutating chords. It’s one of those special tracks, the kind you keep handy for just the right moment. You don’t know when that will be, but you know it’s coming. Soon.