Published Mar 01, 2000Luke Vibert has always been neither here nor there. He's recorded under his own name (the landmark track "Get Your Head Down," for Ninja Tune), let loose a most jaw-dropping accomplishment as his Plug alter-ego on the stunning Drum N' Bass For Papa, and has worked with labels both underground (Mo' Wax, Blue Planet) and underfoot (Virgin). His latest solo project, Musipal, has landed in the hands of Ninja Tune for the label's first full-length with the Cornwall, England native. This time Vibert has opted to don his Wagon Christ persona, a name he lifted from a Robert Crumb comic in which a Christ-like figure is seen carting a wagon down Sunset Boulevard.
But unlike most artists who wrest creative control from others and clutch it protectively to their chest, Vibert is strangely casual about how the final product comes together. Musipal isn't exactly the record Vibert had initially planned to unleash. "I was shopping the record around to labels and Ninja said, We really like five or six of the tracks but the others are a little too up-tempo for us.' And that was because I was playing it to [labels like] Warp and Reflex, so I just put a bundle of tracks on and Ninja turned out to be the most into it. I gave Ninja another load, like 50 tracks going back years, so they chose about three or four old ones." He's done this before: Big Soup, a record released through Mo' Wax, was handpicked track-for-track by label owner James Lavelle. "James was really selective and got the album that he really wanted," Vibert explains. "Usually it's just me compiling songs and shoving them together without much thought."
Using primitive and simplistic tools such as an old Atari running Cubase, Vibert's end product is a mixed bag of hip-hop, house and pure funk dating back a few years. "You can even tell in the production that some tracks are older than others. And I like deliberately having things that don't really go together. I don't think it's a contrived way it's just natural for me. I think the first version [of Musipal] was even more up and down and there were a few more up-tempo, acid-y tracks. I still think the record is quite a mix of styles, but not as much. I don't hear it as all over the place, but it does seem to sit quite nicely."