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Go to the Lucine icl website  Lucine icl - Iron City [Hymen / Mad Monkey - 2002]

Lucine icl here presents its fourth album, Iron City, a fairly exceptional mishmash of ambient, pop, and fertile electronic danceable rhythms. Sounds like something perfectly fitting on the Hymen label, but this time it's co-released with Mad Monkey Records.

Lucine icl is an alias for Jeff Mcilwain, who now produces releases in Los Angeles. However, he originally started making music about 5 years ago in Austin, Texas, where he received much of his musical influences. When he moved to Los Angeles, his music evolved further to more accessible and melodic electronic music. He focuses on acoustic and analogue instruments, but powerfully digitally manipulated. Jeff Mcilwain's discography is extensive, and spread onto various labels, yet this is my first encounter with this artists. I'll be happy to announce that this finding is a pleasant one.

A mix of ambient, pop and techno is something that we've heard before, and to be honest I expected more unique elements from this release than is revealed now. But expectations should never get in the way of enjoying good music, and that is what "Iron City" is. The first track "Blind" is a stunning opener, very danceable and accessible, nicely combining the elements mentioned before, plus a vocal sample by Sharon Fatoorechi. "Invisible" is more stretched out and less poppy, nevertheless it might as well be as impressive as the opening track. "Iron City" contains also more minimal tracks, such as "Strand", or strange ambient pop songs ("Tonic" and "Bent"). He's not afraid to experiment too, judging from the trumpet and guitar samples on "Scheming" and "Perpetual".

The big minus on "Iron City" is the length of the album: 72 minutes. I feel that this is too long for this type of music, and it tends to get somewhat boring after a while. The tracks more or less follow the same musical direction; however I can understand the people who say that "Iron City" is actually as varied as any large city due to the different styles used. But large cities can be very monotonous too, and a smaller (or less ongoing) village would be more preferable here.

Still I feel that "Iron City" is an excellent album of relaxing ambient pop (just to follow the trend of making up new names for genres everyday), and Lucine icl is probably one of the leaders in its style. Not near disappointing, anyway.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Justin Faase
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