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REVIEW: Lucinate – “Big Noise”

It requires a certain level of intuitiveness to create an instrumental project which is uplifting yet full of substance. I feel sometimes (and I’m talking across several genres here) that these projects fail because they become too technically obtuse. But there are other instances where sheer love of the game takes control and listeners are immediately able to reap the benefits. I’ve tried and tested this case in point by listening to Big Noise 3 times and a row and yeah… Still not bored folks.

Lucinate is the brainchild of musician Bram van der Hoeven, who has been creating dreamy electronic funk under this pseudonym since 2015. Big Noise however takes a small departure from the formula heard in previous records and concentrates on a more traditional jazzy sound. Lucinate’s mission statement in this new album is to create a love letter to the genre of jazz, and this shift in focus actually makes the album one of the most inventive and interesting Lucinate records yet.

The opening title track “Big Noise” is pleasant, soft, vibrant and yes certainly traditional, with some added varied drum sounds to shake things up a little. In all, it’s a wonderfully tranquil piece of work. And this dreamy journey continues in second track “Year of the Rat”. But midway into this song, we get an interesting transition as a concealed electronic undercurrent begins to surface. It seems at this point in the record that Big Noise‘s overall game plan is to become something a great deal more distinct in its identity, something that is half love letter and half experimental. The following track “Cage Fight” continues the pleasant consistency of electronic layers upon jazz, with abstract samples and soundscapes taking no precedence but adding nicely to the whole Lucinate soup.

But the balance tips a little more towards classical jazz, with wonderfully smooth clarity, in “Tommorrow’s Unknown” which I found reminiscent of those instrumental years of Beastie Boys, and continues to display Lucinate‘s competence as a composer. He really knows how and where to drop those samples for maximum effect. Another highly enjoyable element, as heard amply in fifth track “Rezaria” is the frequent contortion of traditional jazz instruments such as trumpets and snare drums to dynamic and trippy effect.

Things take a turn for the funkier during the somewhat progressive 8 minute track “Universal Rhythm” which leads on to the silky interlude of “Santiago.” The following track, “Back Transplant” is another album highlight for me, with some great percussion, and some rather evocative xylophones. And so we finish up on the vibrant swan song of “Give me a Break”. If you’re like me, you’ll be kind of sad that the experience is over and done with. Nothing to do now but to hit the replay button.

It surely takes a connoisseur of the genre to make songs which function this well, and the sheer volume of ideas placed into the project is what makes hearing this record such an exhilarating ride. Big Noise acts as a homage, yes, but the importance lies within the composer’s ability to bend these components to his own will. Bram van der Hoeven aka, Lucinate effortlessly displays how electronic and hip hop sampling can all be part of the great big jazz fusion process, and Big Noise achieves it on such a molecular level that listeners need only sit back and enjoy the ride, more than once if possible.

 

Score: 8.5/10

Notable tracks: “Big Noise”; “Tomorrow’s Unkonwn”; “Back Transplant”

FFO: Miles Davis; Cinematic Orchestra; Beastie Boys

You can hear Big Noise and other Lucinate releases on the band’s Spotify and Soundcloud pages. You can hear other King Deluxe stuff on the King Deluxe Records Bandcamp page. For the latest info on Lucinate, visit their Official Facebook page.

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