PLUG: Back On Time (Ninja Tune)


Posted on Jan 5th 2012 01:23 am

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Plug: Back On Time

Back On Time
Ninja Tune 2012
10 Tracks. 55mins07secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

In the mid-nineties, Luke Vibert, who, beside a venture with Jeremy Simmonds, had mostly been operating as Wagon Christ, reinvented himself as Plug the time of a handful of EPs and an album on which he moved away from the hip-hop-infused electronica of his Rising High releases of the time to distill his own blend of refined Drum’n’Bass. While none of these seemed to get much attention on the D’n’B scene, they showed Vibert as the versatile musician that he is and cemented his position amongst fellow West Country mavericks of the likes of Aphex Twin or Squarepusher

Following this condensed blast of releases, between 1995 and 1997, the project has been on an indefinite hiatus, but a year ago, Luke Vibert turned up at the Ninja Tune office with a bunch of DATs containing previously unheard material recorded around that time. Back On Time collects ten of these, with an eleventh coming as a free download with the album. Like with Drum ‘N’ Bass For Papa, Vibert takes D’n’B and turns it into a malleable platform for his playful compositions, channelling his usual strands of inspiration, from hip-hop to acid and ambient, but keeping them under control as not to drastically disturb the flow of energy running through the whole record.

Back On Time is as convincing as its predecessor, and, considering that these tracks were recorded fifteen years  ago, sounds surprisingly fresh. There is quite a wide array of moods here, from the electro tones of opening track Scar City and the rave energy of A Quick Plug For A New Slot to the Middle Eastern flavours of Come On My Skeleton or the chaotic Speak & Spell-sampling Mind Bending. At times, he relieves the pressure a tad and ventures into more sophisticated grounds, on the rather soulful Feeling So Special or the stripped down Drum N Bass for instance, but even there, he continues to fuel his compositions with hefty dose of energy and humour, as he demonstrates at the end of Come On My Skeleton.

Whilst nowhere near as manic or anarchic as Squarepusher, Vibert never quite sticks to pure D’n’B, infusing it instead with his own style, yet his take on the genre is at once extremely pertinent and relevant. His approach may be unorthodox, but there is no denying his commitment to creating vibrant pieces and to freely explore the possibilities of D’n’B here. Back On Time is much more than just a companion release to its predecessor, and not only because it comes sixteen years later. How Vibert managed to ‘lose’ these tracks for this long and never considered releasing them at the time is baffling, and it would be easy to imagine that there may be more Vibert gems, as one project or another, waiting to be unearthed and given a whole new lease of life like these have.


  Ninja Tune
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

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