Luciano: Vagabundos 2012

Par for the mix course, the contents of Luciano's Vagabundos 2012 are indexed as separate tracks, in this case twenty-six, yet the mix by the Ibiza-based DJ feels more like one long-form, mutating entity than an assemblage of distinct parts. That the compilation conveys such a fluid impression can be attributed to Luciano's ‘molecular' mixing style: the Chilean producer uses digital DJing technology to deconstruct and re-construct tracks such that elements from as many as four different tracks might be in play at any given moment. Throughout the seventy-six-minute set, a melody or vocal figure from one cut merges with a bassline or hi-hat pattern from another, resulting in a mix where the hard definition of its component parts blurs until what instead results is an organism of high energy and irrepressible spirit.

A resident at Ibiza for many years, Luciano followed his first official DJing stint at Cocoon with residencies at the afterhours club Circoloco at DC10 and the Ushuaia hotel-club complex. Vagabundos 2012 is Luciano's attempt to distill the essence of his Vagabundos concept, which he launched at the Pacha club in 2010, into a single recording. Breezily Balearic, the mix is a multi-hued sonic rendering of the island that ranges from the sultry dub-techno of Substance & Vainqueur (“Reverberation”) and jacking strut of DJ W!LD (“Catania Blues”) to the rolling bass bounce of Dave Aju (“Away Away”), euphoria of Guy J (an AM mix of “Lamur”), and thudding funk of Romanthony (a Deetron edit of “Bring U Up”).

Transitions from one track to another happen fast yet the changes are never jarring when Luciano blends the elements together so seamlessly, and the breathless mix elastically stretches to accommodate repeated forays into techno and deep house. An occasional instrument sound signals the advent of a change, such as the organ that inaugurates the soulful vocal house jam “Clap Your Hands” by Zakes Bantwini and featuring Xola. Admittedly there are moments when the component tracks are so different that their respective elements can be separated from one another, as occurs during the segue from Sarp Yilmaz's “Shoot” to Plaid's “Dett,” but that's no crime. While Luciano generally stays out of the spotlight, he gives his multi-dimensional mix, which ebbs and flows from start to finish and never strays from its resolutely uptempo definition, a late-inning jolt by slotting his earbending Lucien-N-Luciano classic “Somewhere We Got” into the closing spot.

September 2012