Vocal City

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The glitch style arising primarily from the Force Inc sublabel Mille Plateaux circa 2000 certainly was rich with innovative ideas about where electronic dance music could go beyond standard analog sounds. Yet if there is one thing the glitch generation lacked from the get go, it was a good old-fashioned sense of soul-funk. That began to change with a tide of releases by Force Tracks (another Force Inc sublabel), chief among them those of Luomo, the microhouse moniker of glitchmonger Vladislav Delay. Vocal City compiles six Luomo tracks (some of which had been previously released on 12"), seams them together, and offers a powerful statement of purpose: glitch can indeed be funky and soulful without forsaking any of its forward-looking clicks + cuts aesthetic. Clocking in around the 12-minute mark, give or take a few minutes, the six tracks here delve deeply into the woozy style of glitch-dub that Delay had made an art of with his series of Chain Reaction releases (compiled on the likewise milestone Multila [2000]). Yet unlike those Chain Reaction productions, these Luomo ones also have a steady rhythmic backbone, one rooted deeply in good old-fashioned house music, albeit heavily sedated house. Moreover, Delay works some softly sung vocals into the mix -- here-and-there snippets that remain true to the clicks + cuts ideal yet are still singalongable -- and does so to grand effect especially during the late-album climax "Tessio." The way Delay seams these long-winded tracks together with hazy interludes of dubby ambience makes Vocal City all the more remarkable and above all listenable. This is the sort of album you put on and listen to from beginning to end, and it's also the sort of album you can safely recommend to anyone. Vocal City is one of those rare albums that is as genius as it is accessible, an inviting milestone by which other albums are measured.

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