London-based Hypercolour Records describes Luke Vibert's latest in a very long line of cheeky jaunts as an "ode to the era of M25 convoys, mobile phone hotlines and raving amongst dogs on strings in British aerodrome fields," and well, it really is. Everything about Garave Vol.1 — from the song titles to the ubiquitous piano loops to the recognizable vocals — is simply dripping in early '90s rave juices. Vibert has set out to encapsulate a particular period in time with this record and you'd be hard-pushed to deny his overwhelming success in this task.
Of course, this is still a Luke Vibert record, and that means it's rife with unabashed playfulness. Regardless of whether he's rolling out jungle as Plug, wobbling through acid as the Ace of Clubs or reshaping breakbeat into various colourful blobs, Vibert has never taken himself too seriously, and Garave Vol.1 is no different. You could almost be forgiven for thinking that this album is a parody of rave, rather than an homage to it — that is, if it wasn't put together so damn well. Listen to "Stop Gap," one of album's clear highlights, and you'll be met with a British MC putting a stop to the music halfway through, in a move that is nothing short of gratuitous. Yet, when it kicks back in you're immediately reminded just what a talented producer Vibert is. He does this constantly on Garave Vol.1: he'll hit you with something silly, only to back it up with undeniable skill seconds later.
Not only is this album an ode to all forms of rave — there are nods to drum & bass via "Back With Me" and slaps in the face of UK garage on "Feel The Riddim" — but it's also a treasure trove of irritatingly familiar samples. Among the ball-pit of samples is Eazy-E's "Ruthless Villain" and that perfect little vocal snippet from "Crush on You" by the Jets, plus a endless amount of others that are best left for the elves of Reddit to decipher.
If all of this sounds like it's a nostalgia kick for aging ravers, then that's because it is, but it's also just as relevant for this current generation of rug cutters. We now live in an era of constant throwbacks anyway, so Garave Vol.1 fits as snugly into 2017 as any other. And what's more is that Vibert has made it using the same techniques and even the same samples he's always used. How he manages to make the same old tricks sound fresh though is anybody's guess. (Hypercolour)