Luqus – Shhht_18

silenced - -shhht_18- - coverAs anyone engaged in a certain volume of writing can undoubtedly tell you, sometimes words just will not come. The dreaded writer’s block shows that somewhere in there, the creative juices just aren’t flowing. Many solutions have been proposed, but the one thing that always does the trick for me is to just wait until something comes around and inspires me again. Five minutes ago, it did: Silenced’s latest release: Shhht_18 by Luqus.

The first thing this release reminded me of after hitting play was that feeling I got when first listening to Shhht_12 by Great Skies: a feeling of wonder that quickly explodes into what feels like a complete reshuffling of all my organs. Shhht_12 has in my opinion always been the pinnacle in the Silenced catalogue. Until now, that is.

At only three songs and a total playtime of under 14 minutes, this EP seems quite modest in size. What it manages to pull off in this short period of time is absolutely stunning, though. Luqus’s work fits very well with the sonic qualities and style of downtempo, dubby releases Silenced has become a brand name for. The building blocks of the songs are not all that original, really. But the execution is nothing short of spectacular. Deep pads and almost subdued bass growls are complemented by drum elements that have nothing to prove, yet do so anyway. There is nothing here but patience. Luqus shows that elements we have heard for years now can still surprise us in their simple beauty. The fact that all those elements are mixed for maximum crispness helps a lot, no doubt.

The cover is, as always, a prefab affair. And although I don’t really dislike the design, it gets a bit stale after seeing almost 20 releases with a similar one. That, and of course the title of the release which is basically just a catalogue number, are the two things I don’t like about this release. Both have something to do with decisions Silenced has taken about a recognizable house style. So while I may not like their decisions, I can at least see why they continue doing things this way. It’s also pretty telling if the only negative thing I can say about a release is the fact that I don’t like the album title and the cover. And that is really it. Everything else is sheer perfection.

Shhht_18 showcases Luqus’s skills as well as Silenced’s eye for quality. We’ll continue to keep an eye on both. This release is a loving punch in the stomach; soothing balm and salt in the same wound. The world must know about Shhht_18. Highly recommended.

Luqus – Staring at the Sun

 

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This review was originally published on netlabelism.com, an online music magazine covering netlabel culture and releases. I was editor for the magazine from January 2011 until December 2014.