Artist: Luciano
Title: Sci Fi Hi Fi Volume Two
Label: Soma Records
By: Jason Calvert | 4 April 2006
  1. D:Uni:Son - Orange
  2. Cabanne - Boulinge
  3. John Thomas - Basilic
  4. Tadeo - Beteria Lup!
  5. Samim & Michal - Exercise EP
  6. Framework
  7. Lineas De Nazca - Eje Central
  8. Serafin - Starship Discotheque
  9. P. Specke & D. Maxic - Rio Besenreiser
  10. Matt John - The Rising Scope
  11. Butane - Next
  12. Solieb - Love Song
  13. Donnacha Costello - Ok Thats Great Start Over
  14. Phage & Daniel Drier - Chicks N Chips
  15. Adam Beyer - Walking Contradiction (Part One)
  16. 2000 And One - Sunday
  17. Alejandro Vivanco - Las Velas No Arden
  18. Ricardo Villalobos - Ichso
  19. Thomas Melchior & Luciano - Father
  20. Huggotron - Glasshouse
  21. Kuniyuki - Earth Beats (Percussion Dub)

Luciano "Sci Fi Hi Fi Volume Two"Luciano "Sci Fi Hi Fi Volume Two"

Out Now on Soma Records

Chile's Luciano is next up to mix Volume 2 of Soma Recordings' successful Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi series. The first was mixed by Ewan Pearson, and for those who read my review of it will appreciate how much I loved it. So it comes without saying that I had set my expectations high for the second installment in the series. However, because of the freedom the DJs have with what they do for the CD, it is quite hard to compare them. Where Ewan's took a more electro-housey route, Luciano goes for quite a minimal sound. Therefore I will not draw comparisons between the 2 CDs, rather just take each as they are.

Minimal has always been one of those genres where I've found that if a track doesn't have an extra edge to it, it can end up sounding just many others in a sea of forgettable minimal tracks. So I'm always cautious when approaching a minimal song, let alone a whole compilation. D.uni:son's "Orange" provides a nice intro, setting a solid tone and pace for what we can expect from then on. However, as we flowed through tracks like Cabanne's "Boulinge" and Samim and Michals's "Exercise EP", I was finding it difficult to differentiate between the tracks. This can be seen as a credit to Luciano's mixing skills, but it also became hard to focus on the mix. Things weren't looking too great at this point.

However, it appears that the album is quite a slow burner, and as soon as "Framework" came in I immediately pricked up my ears. The slow pulsating grooves of the track seemed to just lift higher than the rest, and things just kept getting better from here on. The druggy feel continues on through "Eje Central", and then takes an interesting twist on "Starship Discotheque". The first tangible melody to be heard on the album appears here in slightly twisted fashion.

A variety of minimal is showcased throughout the album, and the diversity can be seen as we move from electronic melodies into a scape of glitchy fx on "Rio Besenreiser". This serves as a bridge to one of the highlights of the album: Matt John's "The Rising Scope". An amazingly classy (albeit oddly keyed) melody emerges which is guaranteed to stick in your head for hours afterwards. However this is only short lived, it seems Luciano wants to build up the mood in a different direction from here.

"Next" is filled with eerie effects and creepy wind noises. This segue's us into distorted and ultra-cool sounds of Solieb's "Love Song". Sliced up and mashed melodies lead the listener around in circles as an obliterated vocal rings out of it every now and again. Here the mood starts to get a lot tighter and more definite, and "Ok, That's Great, Start Over" leads the way in this direction. Things get really heavy when Luciano drops Adam Beyer's "Walking Contradiction". The percussion is a lot heavier than one would expect from a minimal track, however everything else about it is still minimal.

After that exhausting outing with Beyer, "Sunday" comes in to give us a slight breather. The groove is then stripped back and turned in a more sexy and low-key direction with "Las Velas No Arden". Another highlight of the album comes from a collaboration between Luciano himself and Thomas Melchior. "Father" has a very "James Holden-ish" sound to it, only with much more of a "true" minimal feel to it.

Luciano takes us for to the final leg of the journey, and it seems he saved his best guns for last, with an amazing track from John Dahlb├Ąck's Huggotron project, titled "Glasshouse". The cheeky melody rings out through the glitchy underpinnings of the track, and it works itself into a frenzy as it builds some enormous atmosphere. A true big room moment for the minimal/electro lovers out there. We are finally led out of the mix by the blissful and beatless melodies on "Earth Beats". From listening to the first few tracks of the album, one would never imagine that we would end up at such a beautiful place.

Many could argue that Luciano was simply building up the energy at the beginning of the mix, but for me it was dragged out too long, and I began to lose interest. This is actually a shame, as if the first part of the album moved faster then it would have likely scored an extra point. The rest of the album is simply amazing though, and this is coming from someone who is usually always very sceptical of the minimal genre. It is therefore safe to say that if you're a fan of minimal generally then this album will be an essential. For the rest who don't quite get minimal, if you don't want to be converted then keep away from this album. If you're ready to be converted, then let Luciano take you on an interesting and eclectic journey. An aspect of the mix which needs to be acknowledged is the fact that the whole CD has been mixed the good old fashioned way of vinyl and turntables. It is something to behold, as in an age of everything digital and dying vinyl, it is guys like Luciano remind us of where we've come from.

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