Lusine – Sensorimotor (Ghostly, 2017)


Experiences, sights and sensations, whilst all deeply personal and intimate events, are also things that can be shared with others. The effect may be different depending on the individual, but the inputs are often repeatable, the elemental feelings shareable. Many of Lusine’s records touch on these feelings of personal duplicity, of co-opted experience: A Certain Distance involved us in Jeff’s social anxieties; The Waiting Room told us both sides of a romantic relationship’s struggles; now Sensorimotor completes the story as we’re introduced to the notion of half-lives lived when moments aren’t shared with the one’s we love.

We’re allowed a brief moment of togetherness in the glittering glockenspiel turnings of opener “Canopy”, sunlight filtering down through the bustling foliage, allowing a peek at the endless sky beyond. It quickly begins to accelerate away however, and soon it gears up into dramatically heady and overwhelming synth smearings. These shared moments between absences always seem to move too quickly, as “Slow Motion” explicitly lays out; the percussion shimmies rapidly with the energetic synth arpeggiations, but does it need to go by so fast? Behemothic bass smears and bold drum lines attempt to slow things down, willing life to move just a bit slower and let us savour these critical moments: leave us some breathing room, it demands at its mushy, bleary midpoint.

It’s not permitted elsewhere though, as “The Level” jams forward relentlessly in its Techno stylings, whispered snatches of blistered female voices drifting across its harsh frontages like smoke from a distant fire, international phone calls briefly bridging two busy, temporarily disparate lives. We feel the weight of the tension heaviest here, the physicality of the separation at its peak.

They just aren’t whole, and wife Sarah makes an appearance to make the sentiment plain in “Ticking Hands”:

“I’ll take in the view

The scenery’s new

I wish I could wander the city with you”

Her almost monotonic delivery complements the dark, shimmery melancholy of the piece, cementing it in resignation. Time seems to move strangely here, the beats clipped and tight yet somehow erratic in their flow: hours feel like days, days feel like years, and there never seems to be enough time between absences. The darkness of separation is most apparent in the vocally lead pieces actually, even in the carefully manicured facade of “Won’t Forget” and its bouncy, jovial beats. Vilja Larjosto’s chopped and screwed vocals belie the track’s true feelings though, in classic Lusine style: “You drag me down” she can be heard through the miasma, “I’m not fine” she whispers. This lifestyle is wearing thin but the facade remains strong for now.

And then there’s the woozy, ethereal, mysterious “Witness” with Benoit Pioulard, whose enigmatic lyrics seem to look towards resolution before the piece collapses into fractal, kaleidoscopic oblivion. “What did you expect from me?” he croons lastly before sliding into decoherence, the sense of chaos and disorder felt so intimately in both parties, the spiralling madness of separation. “Waiting, waiting waiting….” he echoes, yearning for return.

There is resolution, there is always return and stability, if transient. Like the final moments of The Waiting Room it comes in the soaring vista of longform Ambient Techno piece “Flyaway”, bearing suspicious resemblance to predecessor “Stratus”. There’s eagerness here, a sense of imminent closure and recombination; although counterintuitive a feeling of returning individuality looms, the two rejoining to make a whole greater than the sum of their parts. It peaks at the tip of the parabola in “Tropopause”, a final cathartic moment as it buzzes with whirring synth drones in a navy sky, an unfiltered Sun illuminating a quiet smile before a wave of noise consumes all. Normality.