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Friday 24 March 2023

Me And Mr. Jones

This is the third of a run of posts featuring the music of Luke Vibert, courtesy of reader Spencer sending me a song each week for me to write about. We've got plans to change the nature of this collaboration a bit in the upcoming weeks so this may the end of one run of posts before the start of something new. The previous Luke Vibert posts were Disco Nasty, Luke in his Kerrier District guise, and last week's Doozit from a 2015 album called Bizaster. Today sees Luke as Plug and a track from an album from 1996, Drum 'n' Bass For Papa. 

Firstly I should probably say that this track was new to me, coming to me via the internet after a twenty- three gap. Secondly, I was never a big fan of drum 'n' bass. In the 90s dance music was a forward thinking and progressive musical form, constantly shifting and dividing, new genres and sub- genres spinning off from the centre. In that spirit I often felt I should go with the new, be open to the new forms- but drum 'n' bass never really clicked with me. I had/ have a couple of Goldie singles (inevitably), some 12" singles by Photek, maybe one or two other things but that's about it. 

Luke Vibert made so much music and in so many different musical styles under a slew of different names. His drum 'n' bass output on Blue Planet is highly regarded and Drum 'n' Bass For Papa featured highly in some of 1996 and 1997's end of year lists (it was released in the US in '97). Clicking play a week ago did made me wonder what I'd make of some mid- 90s drum 'n' bass, all these years later, a non- aficionado of the music.

Me And Mr. Jones

Luke's trademark sense of humour, love of off kilter and quirky samples is as much a part of his drum 'n' bass recordings as the rest of his work. Me And Mr. Jones starts out like cartoon horror, the shlocky sounds of 1970s Hammer House Of Horror- organ, echo, a spooky voice- and then the drums hit, rapid fire breakbeats, the jolting stop- start rhythm and deep sub- bass. The track twists and turns onwards, spitting out of the speakers as the staccato horror film strings sweep about in the background, piano runs drop in and a voice hums. The breakdown at the end, the breakbeat cutting out, brings in a a brief burst of 70s funk bass and then it's over. Luke takes two things that haven't been put together before and makes them seem like obvious bedfellows- amazingly it still sounds very fresh all these years later, a very leftfield exploration of sound and rhythms.

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