Originally published on The Line of Best Fit
Towards the end of 2010 electronic music was used purely to soundtrack a moody meander through a 3am gritty city scape. The xx had painted everything drizzle grey and the horizon revealed only the coffee table bureaucracy of James Blake. Beats and bleeps were rationed; the neglected victims of recession, while the great hope of Dubstep wobbled in the clutches of Reggie and Grimmers as they yelled shout-outs to children.
There was a real danger of guitars becoming relevant again, but in an Essex living room, a man known as Derwin was collecting samples from charity shops and mobile phone recordings, and dusting down gasping analogue synthesisers. We had already heard Gold Panda’s blueprints, the oriental ‘Quitter Ragga’ and the crackling Casio of ‘Back Home’, but in October 2010 Lucky Shiner roused dance music to a sunrise over a mist filled valley. Opening track ‘You’ is the dawn chorus, different samples compete in turn, infusing organically into one of nature’s wonders.
‘Vanilla Minus’ and ‘Snow and Taxis’ are epic Trance tunes – repetitive, layered and building, but more akin to the sub-psytrance of Tribal Gathering than the banging Donk and hotpant-hysteria of Saturday nights. ‘Marriage’ reintroduces gentle piano house and ‘India Lately’ is the warped crackle of Kraftwerk on board the Trans-Orient Express.
Lucky Shiner is a “proper” dance record, with one man behind a forest of wires and magic boxes, pressing buttons to conduct samples to their natural place. Its analogue creaking gives it an organic feel which is all too often compressed out of electronica, and allows it to honour the history of dance and watch it blossom into a new era.
– David Newbury