Lukid LukidLonely at the Top
It’s lonely at the top. All alone surveying the hordes beneath, wishing someone could understand you, relate to you. Maybe you can reach out to those distant others through music, and that may explain the title of Lukid’s fourth album. Or it could just be something I’ve made up. While there are plenty of his ‘peers’ sitting at the proverbial top – lonely or not – the elusive London producer is more likely to be found in the aisles, probably flexing his famously dry sense of humour and getting on with it.
“Lonely At The Top” is a strange and engrossing listen. If it was indeed a missive from someone separated from the lowlier masses, it would only serve to show us that up there isn’t necessarily more pleasant than down here. The music spread across 12 tracks dips in and out of styles and genres, toying with recognisable tropes and signifiers without ever committing to one for long enough to make you think ‘oh this is [insert genre]’. Things are hinted at rather than made explicit, with a foggy quality permeating the album that further adds to this feeling that Lukid is playing with ideas rather than going for what’s obvious.
“Bless My Heart” could be disco, the rhythmic loop that underpins it certainly sounds like it but it’s slower, blurred, like a drunk DJ spinning a record at the wrong speed without realising, while the vocal samples add an eerie quality to the slurred disco groove. There’s a techno thread that runs through “Manchester”, “This Dog Can Swim” and “Riquelme” each track offering a different take on the style. “Manchester” is a hypnotising dance of beeps, swooping bass and looped vocals that never quite sounds right. “This Dog Can Swim” is a tough rhythm that’s perhaps one of the album’s most obvious tracks, yet still fits perfectly amongst the strange patchwork that is “Lonely At The Top”. And “Riquelme” borrows from Burial by giving you that ‘listening to a rave from the other side of a wall’ vibe. “Snow Theme” and “Tomorrow” are gentle beatless interludes, respite amid the strangeness. “USSR”, “The Life of the Mind” and “Laroche” remind me most of Belgian producer sSaliva’s recent EP, in that they have the same narcoleptic qualities, music seemingly made to fall asleep or daydream to, oceans of looped sound to pleasantly get lost in. The album ends with “Talk To Strangers”, a sign that perhaps if you’re at the top you can never escape the masses below.
“Lonely At The Top” is a patchwork of different musical styles viewed through a broken lens, with things never quite as they seem. On repeated listens the narcoleptic quality that inhabits some of the tracks can be felt pretty much across the album, and that adds to the charm. Amid the relentless onslaught of formulaic dancefloor music and rehashed ideas, the music found on “Lonely At The Top” offers a respite from the po-faced seriousness and backslapping camaraderie by not pretending to be anything other than what it is. A strange journey that’s pleasant and addictive.