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Label

Ghostly International

Lusine

Sensorimotor


From his early releases as Lusine onward, Jeff McIlwain’s electronic explorations make up one of the more diverse discographies of the past decade and a half. Effortlessly blurring the lines between techno, electro-pop and experimental composition, the Texas-raised / Seattle-based producer’s arrangements are meticulously constructed, but also filled with emotion and soul. With an introspective turn that’s hinted at in the record title, Lusine’s fourth album for Ghostly sees McIlwain diffusing the pop-leanings of 2013’s The Waiting Room with opaque, brush-stroked melodies washing over these new buoyant productions. Sensorimotor is a visceral album, with gorgeous opener Canopy slowly building into an empyrean cloud of music box chimes and an amorphous thrum. The following Ticking Hands is just as beguiling yet also more formed, with the processed melancholy vocals of McIlwain and his wife Sarah filtered into a chilling lament that unfolds over the song’s light skitters and Kraftwerkian pulse. Sensorimotor finds other past Lusine collaborators returning as well, with longtime friend Benoît Pioulard’s narcotic croon looped into a swirling arpeggio during Witness. Vilja Larjosto also makes two appearances, with her sun-kissed vocal melodies spliced and splayed across the steady pulsing bass and fluorescent synth pads of Just a Cloud, and later on Won’t Forget, delivering a breathy processed melody atop a jaunty shuffle of cut-up woodwind instruments and keys. Working with an arsenal that includes an MPC1000, a borrowed Prophet 5, hand percussion, glockenspiel, as well as field recordings and samples of live instruments, McIlwain’s productions often merge the digital world with the real world. Yet from the fluttering Terry Riley-esque samples of woodwinds in Chatter to the epic, widescreen synths of The Lift, Sensorimotor is surprisingly cohesive throughout. Its ebb and flow forms a musical narrative that’s as much a Lusine album as it is a soundtrack for the listener’s own imagination.

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