With the constant influx of LP’s being released on an endlessly growing list of labels, it’s becoming easier and easier to skim over releases using the “5 Second Rule”, coined by longtime Interscope label head Jimmy Iovine. We’ve become so accustomed to picking our 3 or 4 favorites tracks from albums, that we forget that producers and artists sometimes spend years creating, altering, rebuilding, and fine-tuning their work to be listened to as a collective sound, rather than a compilation of singular tracks. Keeping this in mind is essential while listening to “Life In Black And White,” the debut album from Luca Lozano.
The Berlin based producer and DJ is well known for his work as co-founder and front man of Klasse Recordings. An artist turned producer turned DJ, Lozano’s roots as a street artist run deep in this release. Starting with a loose and arid jazz inspired introduction which flows effortlessly into a percussion driven ensemble of simple pianos and harmonized vocals, LIBAW establishes itself as an exploration and deconstruction of what we consider traditional house and techno. Tracks like “Tombstone” call on traditional elements of hip-hop fused with classical guitar chords, while “The Son” uses a sample from The Contours’ classic, “Do You Love Me” laid over downtempo percussion to draw the album to a sensible close.
A collaboration with Crosstown Rebels star, Amirali, on “Sail On” is one of the many stand out tracks on LIBAW. Rhythmic horns and hauntingly drawn out vocals grace this funky and deep house tune. “The Mask Two” might be Luca Lozano’s most rich track on the release. It would be rather difficult to find a track with better use of the steelpan drum than this one. The track oozes cool, calm, and collected. If you’re looking for a more straight forward techno sound with the Lozano/Klasse touch, look no further than “Need Nothing”. It has a winning combination of xylophone, DirtyBird-esque breaks, and an unexpected vocal sample that keeps the track moving and excellent for dance floor use. While these are some of the more interesting and ear-catching tracks on the LP, it’s strongly advised to listen to LIBAW as a whole. Each track flows effortlessly into the next, changing tempo and groove with little interference.
Albums like these are rare. An unique mix of experience, quality, risk, and awareness. Luca Lozano has shown why he continues to push the boundaries of what we consider house and techno, both as a producer and label head.