Lackluster: R U Oho?: Igloomag Review


Be it because of distribution problems, lack of publicity or even poor mastering, this collection of remixes of Lackluster tracks passed right under the radar on its initial release. This is a shame because there really is no reason for this 12″ not to be considered a classic. Clearly there are people out there who think it is. Those people would be Merck Records who have updated and re-issued this wonderful collection of remixes that originally saw the light of day on the defunct deFocus Records.

That original release is still available and both releases feature a few notable differences. Firstly, the Bauri remix of “Cull Streak” has been rather sadly omitted but is replaced instead with a brand new remix of “In Passing” by Esem.
Secondly, the tracks have been re-mastered for the Merck release and the difference is noticeable. It’s also worth noting that, if you can still find a copy, deFocus released both the “Suntrapez (Brothomstates rmx)” and the “Cull Streak (Sense mx)” on the excellent Do You See compilation CD.

Bubbling directly into your brain, “Suntrapez (Brothomstates rmx)” kicks off the 12″ in typically playful and complex Brothomstates style. It’s cruelly short lifespan excepted this ranks, to date, as one of the finest IDM remixes committed to

The unusual timing techniques (the original name of the mix was, in fact, “Brothomstates Timing Techniques”) give the mix an added off-kilter kick as the drum patterns flitter schizophrenically under the bewildering waterfall of layered and intertwined melodies.

“In passing (Revisited by Esem)” is a new interpretation of a track from Wrapping, Lackluster’s second album for the deFocus label. Strikingly different to the other remixes on this disc, and to a certain extent to Esem’s previous works, there is an
almost acoustic edge to this new version. Where Lackluster’s original was warm and hazy, Esem’s version features a crisp, high-contrast mix with an almost funky mid-section.

Sense’s remix of “Cullstreak” remains relatively true to the original but opts for Sense’s recognizably soft, dreamy textures and effervescent percussion while Xhale’s “Meanwhile (Night Edit)” – not in fact an edited version of the mix that appeared on
the original 12″, it just has a different title – adopts a haunting, moonlit, misty character.

“20333 (131099 Sample Edit)” simply remains one of Lackluster’s finest tracks: the glittering, hypnotic and hugely evocative melodies sparkling among the swirling haze of atmospheric drones and pads, create a piece that defines the Lackluster style.

The 12″ is rounded out by the almost hallucinatory, fairytale whispers of “Meanwhile (rm xb yb rothomstates),” the second of the exquisite Brothomstates remixes in the collection, and is a very different animal to his “Suntrapez” remix. At 8’29″ it’s
the longest track here as well as the most ambient piece and Brothomstate’s recognizable use of echoes and heavy reverb are key to this subdued and subtly ethereal IDM lullaby.

All in all this is probably the finest 12″ the deFocus label released and many thanks should be extended to Merck for an absolutely stellar re-issue.

Quite simply, a classic.

R U Oho? is out now on Merck Records.