Published Jun 29, 2016Osaka-based Erik Luebs returns as Magical Mistakes with his sophomore effort Peaking in the Pitch Black, a darkly beautiful album throbbing with claustrophobic grooves. It's a solid release, and worth your time if you have a taste for moody, vaguely funky electronica.
Despite being recorded in one of Japan's remotest villages, there's nothing pastoral about the sonic palette here; this is distinctly urban music, evoking late-night car-rides through rain-slicked tenements — and Luebs, a confident producer with a well-developed style, conjures it well. The bass is deep, the beats are active and dynamic and vocal snippets are tossed around from time to time. The implementation of these elements never combines to create anything we haven't heard before, but there are marks to be had here for style and craftsmanship — although he could stand to dial back the subterranean murk of his production style from time to time. But that's perhaps a matter of taste.
Opening track and first single "Annihilated" is an undeniably strong introduction, a calling card any producer in 2016 could proffer with confidence. Other highlights include late-album entry "Rubble," which switches up the beat unexpectedly at the halfway mark, and closing track "Everyone is Dead," which adds some live jazz drumming to its menacing throb, playing like some cold-sweat fever dream the Whiplash kid might have had. Two remixes of the title track round out this relatively brief LP, both of which add some welcome colour to the proceedings. Peaking in the Pitch Black is a likable if not exactly memorable release. (The Playground Records)