Luciano: Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi. Volume 2

With cuts by figures like Villalobos, Adam Beyer, Cabanne, Donnacha Costello, and Thomas Melchior, this second volume in Soma's Sci.Fi.Hi.Fi mix series by Perlon and Peacefrog star Luciano (Lucien Nicolet) certainly looks promising on paper. So why doesn't it impress more in practice? It takes too long to get moving for one. Though it does kick into gear mere seconds into D.uni:son's “Orange,” the gear is low and the set basically simmers for its first half hour, trying this listener's patience at least in the process. Still, though it works up precious little sweat during its opening section, there's no questioning the producer's skills (Luciano mixed the cohesive, 80-minute set live in one take using vinyl only) and the mix inarguably undulates fluidly throughout its twenty-one tracks, working itself oh-so-smoothly towards its mid-set peaks. And Lineas de Nazca's “Eje Central” and Serafin's “Starship Discotheque” do groove sweetly, despite their generally polite character, and P. Specke & D. Maxim's “Rio Besenreiser” does gallop nicely. But it's twelve tracks in before Solieb's bleepy “Love Song” gets the mix really pumping, a vibe Donnacha Costello thankfully perpetuates with the driving shuffle “Ok, That's Great, Start Over.” In addition, Beyer's Plus 8 groover “A Walking Contradiction (Part 1)” leaves a strong impression, and the mix's final quarter gravitates towards a roiling South American zone, with Villalobos's “Ichso,” sounding at times like an outtake from the On The Corner sessions, leading the gumbo charge. In general, though, the mix would be stronger had Luciano shaved off about twenty minutes and stoked the broil a little more intensively.

June 2006