‘Usine’ is French for factory, and L’usine is a factory that makes beats and parts into little soundalike sound mosaics with neat melodies and hand-machined microtextures. Living somewhere between the architectonic soundscapes of more recent Monolake and the elegaic melodes of Marumari or Delarosa and Asora, Lusine's creations sound like machine routines that kick, bleep and hack their way through dense forests of lush samplets. But where are they whirring toward? Unfortunately, these robo-rhythms aren’t doing much more than beating around the bush.
'Emerald' presents four products off the same production line. They’re all about the same length, and all of a similar palette. It’s all about the detail and volume – each track only comes into its own played loud and clear through a good amplifier and headphones. Earlier Lusine tracks like 'Flat', selected for the wonderful second disc of Sven Väth’s 'Sound of the Second Season', seemed more purposive, and the melodic elements that stopped the beats bashing themselves bored have faded from the foreground here – only the fourth track 'Weaver' with its cut-up vocal presses this reviewer’s buttons. If it’s going to be emo-robo micro, then I need more emo, and less robo. As it stands, this is crafty, but doesn’t take us beyond itself.
There’s something... not missing, but never reached. When so much of the best listening electronica of late is so nimble, it’s odd to hear tracks so static, so (well) tracky. There’s good technique and sound design in each of the pieces and they’re well constructed, but the final product, though well formed and functional, doesn’t do enough, doesn’t feel enough, leaves you needing more and wanting to move on.
Tracklist: Lusine - Emerald EPA1 Near Sight