November 11, 2008

Presently, Electronic Music's Lover [Luomo]

the Present Lover

Luomo's latest album, Convivial, dropped today, and, man, does it sound good. For the uneducated, Luomo, the most successful handle of Finnish producer Sasu Ripatti, is considered by many to be one of the pioneers of microhouse, dropping his much celebrated debut, Vocalcity, in 2000. Though pertaining the same ideals as the microhouse artists of German labels Perlon and Kompakt, Luomo's sound was distinctly more lush, organic and, often, seductive.

On Vocalcity, crackled, soulful voices broke through propulsive beat/bass combinations and warm, subtle synths, often maintaining grooves that seemed endless though hypnotic at the same time. The crowning moment on the album is the 12-minute "Tessio", which is often considered Luomo at his most anthemic and epic. With his second album, Present Lover, Luomo found himself making his sound more streamlined and pop-oriented, though still maintaining the characteristics of his debut. Vocals were brought to the front and crystallized, though their ambiguity remained, often being cut up and acting as complementing instrumentation as opposed to leading.

On Convivial, Luomo's fourth album, songs still maintain the propulsive micro-grooves of the artist's previous works, though this time they follow more tried-and-true structures, containing verses and choruses and providing vocals a leading role. This is not a bad thing, though, and often the songs are wonderful, particularly "Love You All", which guest stars Sacha Ring of Apparat fame, and "If I Can't", which features Scissor Sisters' vocalist Jake Shears.

Four albums in and Luomo continues to propel his unique and completely original take on electronic music forward. In the increasingly dense and populated format of electronic music, it has become more difficult for an artist to differentiate him or herself, though Luomo's sound knows no imitators, and is one of the best electronic music has to offer (and make love to, but don't tell the kids I said that).

Luomo - Tessio [Vocalcity LP, 2000]

Luomo - Love You All [Convivial LP, 2008]

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