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721 lusine icl. iron city. cd. may2k2



shoot the moon
the fast lane
running in place

lusine icl – numbers. video

lusine icl (jeff mcilwain) on his fourth album, iron city, explores a unique blend of lush electronics, dance floor rhythms and ambient interludes that are sure to please both the discriminating music collector and djs looking for the next big thing. of course, lusine icl is not a stranger to the music scene. he has produced heralded music on labels as diverse as isophlux, hymen records, tigerbeat, u-cover, musik aus strom and delikatessen records. with waves of praise, respect and new fans with each release, lusine icl is showing that he is a major rising force in electronic music. it is not hard to imagine jeff mcilwain reaching the same level of success as many of his influences. 'iron city' commutes the listener through a wide range of terrain. detroit techno, jazz, laid back groove, experimental electronics and ambient landscapes are all part of the landscape. it is as varied as any large city, and as enjoyable as any
fantastic voyage.

jeff mcilwain now resides in los angeles but he originally started making music about 5 years ago in austin, tx. it is in austin in which jeff received much of his musical influence. however, his time at calarts in los angeles has evolved his music further. jeff.s way of producing is just amazing. the focus is much more acoustically involved (though it maintains strong electronic manipulation). the end result is a new pioneer.

hymen records in conjunction with mad monkey records are very proud to
announce the release of "iron city".


musique machine

lusine 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. lusine 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 lusine icl is probably one of the leaders in its style. not near disappointing, anyway. (justin faase)

sonic seducer

nach dem "neutral"-album haben sich mad monkey und hymen ein weiteres mal zusammengefunden, um mit jeff mcilwains projekt lusine icl erneut einen leckerbissen einer breiteren hörerschaft vorzustellen. lusine icl läßt sich nur unter großen mühen in eine der gängigen schubladen quetschen. obwohl fast alle stücke mit beats unterlegt sind, lädt die musik doch eher zum hören und vor allem entdecken der reichhaltig vertretenen details, denn zum tanzen ein. als besonders gelungenes beispiel für die liebevolle arbeit sei nur "scheming" angeführt, das unaufdringlichen maschinengroove perfekt mit jazzigen sounds fusioniert. mein favorit ist jedoch "running in place", das einen urplötzlich erkennen läßt, daß man minutenlang zum sound knisternden vinyls mitgewippt hat - philip jeck dürfte seine freude daran haben, daß seine saat aufzugehen scheint. aber vorsicht: zur beischlafmusik läßt sich "iron city" bei aller unaufdringlichkeit dennoch nicht degradieren - zu hibbelig sind mcilwains klankonstrukte, wie ameise pal im praxistest feststellen mußte. (sascha bertoncin)

i think initially i have set my expectations too high, or rather in the wrong direction for "iron city." it took me a while to get into it fully, but for past couple of weeks this album has been a continuous companion of mine. overall this is a laid-back, relaxed release that combines both sides of l'usine into a complete, undividable whole - atonal, soft ambience and prominent rhythms. this is yet another split release between mad monkey records and hymen. as of late, i came to like "iron city" almost as much as "pseudo steady state," but on a slightly different level. my favorite tracks are those with heavy, head-nodding downtempo groove that emerges from the layers of complex shuffling ambience with familiar, but more structured cut-up atonal waves - rustling and flowing on their own, becoming quiet and fragile for a moment and then entering this beautiful state of "suspended tension" that i appreciate so much, when you wait, and wait for a heavy percussion drop to fall, while almost tangible, dense low-fi analog electronica shifts and morphs, slides and stutters. l'usine found a perfect balance here - this combination is so unique and so easily recognizable, a delicate balance, a stellar contrast between fragility and heaviness, between ambience and rhythms; the composition is what ties them together, alternating between the two, contrasting and complementing, slowing down and pausing only to explode later with unexpected deep groove (yes, it is damn addictive!); gently crackling, toying with processed feedback and constantly humming bassline and analog tones on the background, effortlessly changing pace and direction, effervescent and eccentric, intricate and introspective, meticulously built and seamlessly elegant, gentle and fuzzy, arrhythmic and broken; enticing you with brittle glitch, and smoothing with melancholic atonal strings. all of it is new l'usine - all brand new, and yet so familiar and so close. (anton)


there is music that simply sucks you in and envelopes you. lusine icl's finely tuned electronics are of this category. warm melodies, complex sounds and rhythms, mind-stimulating atmospheres effortlessly seep into your body and infect your sensory apparatus. you just sway along without resistance. like a child, absorbed into its world, absentmindedly strolling through the woods, the music comes across with such warmth, innocence and friendliness that you cant help but to surrender to its call. it is the more astounding if you consider the abstract sounds and rhythms which lay at the base of it. if you think this is just another electronica autechre clone, you are mistaken. lusine icl has matured on his forth album to such an extent (incorporating laptop and electro-acoustic sources) that he is able to combine simplicity with complexity, all the while finding a voice of his own. absolute bona fide electronic music. (till)

toronto industrial kollektive

the funny thing with bands like lusine icl is that if they weren't part of a recognized label, in this case hymen records, i would never own this cd and would never listen to it. i know that sounds bad, and perhaps in a way it is, but that's the truth of it. however it is also good, in that my musical appreciation has been stretched a bit. i've gone through my 'if it isn't harsh and abrasive, then it's shit!' stages. iron city is an electronic jazzy album that contrasts just about everything in my cd collection. but in these rare instances, i can enjoy some music like this. i wouldn't hunt down and buy similar music like this, but when it comes along and enters my sphere of things (i.e. on label that i know and like), then i'll check it out. i kind of jokingly refer to it as new-electronic bachelor pad music. it definitely has a very cool sound to it and gives off a 'yeah, i'm hip' sort of atmosphere, while not being too invasive. whenever hymen and madmonkey do a collaborative release, such as this one, it always seems to be something quite unique and special. (squid)

nuove, ultimissime ricerche, orientate all'incontro proficuo di strutturazioni di matrice ambientale con astratti ritmi derivativi del composito orizzonte sonoro dispiegato dalla club culture internazionale, bene presentate per la hymen in questa delicata ma incisiva produzione a cura di jeff mcilwain, esplorando contorni ancora non esattamente configurati ai bordi dell'elettronica più sperimentale ma fertile. influenze e suoni profondi provenienti dall'orizzonte mediatico che abilmente collidono in fatale miscela, evocando pulsioni detroitiane, dub, schegge jazz, trasversale chill out, atmosfere nel complesso molto curate e dolcemente ripetitive, millimetriche fra calibrate distonie e languida ruvidità. i suoni elettronici sono parte integrante del paesaggio quotidiano e scandiscono buona parte delle nostre azioni, la varietà delle frequenze contemporanee definisce un nuovo orizzonte di comportamenti, luisine icl ci trasporta in un viaggio mentale e fantastico attraverso undici tracce sempre controllate, attraversando gli stili con gran quantità d'idee e proprietà espositiva. ambient e multiforme, un album davvero pregevole. (aurelio cianciotta)


im electronic-/ambient-bereich ist es wie mit anderen musikrichtungen. vieles dudelt nur so vor sich hin, anderes ist ganz gut und ein paar einzelfälle bilden die spitze. und gerade an musik, die ohne gesang auskommt, scheiden sich oft die geister. beim vierten album von jeff mcilwain aka lusine icl. dürfte das urteil jedoch klar sein: absolute oberklasse. der maestro aus los angeles erfreut sich einer stetig wachsenden fangemeinde, deren zahl mit "iron city" noch weiter steigen dürfte. das album strahlt ruhe und wohlbehagen aus, ohne dabei jedoch einschläfernd zu wirken. berauschende, minimalistische melodien breiten sich langsam aus und ergreifen vollkommenen besitz von dem, der sie zu ohren bekommt. mit leichten jazz-anleihen und gedämpften rhythmen ist "iron city" die perfekte cd für einen sonnigen nachmittag. bei einigen songs greift lusine icl. auch mal in die experimentierkiste, etwa bei "the fast lane", das durch unkonventionelle geräuschkulissen untermalt mit einem fast unscheinbaren klangteppich besonders heraussticht. ambient mit anspruch und auf das wesentliche reduziert. bleibt zum schluss nur zu empfehlen, mal bei der hymen-records-homepage vorbeizuschauen und sich die songs anzuhören. (veit)


von lusine kann man prinzipiell schon mal nie genug haben, schon gar nicht, wenn er, wie hier, extrem sachte und vorsichtig die sounds ordnet und seine wunderbar weit gedachten ideen von beatirrgärten mit dem vermischt, mit dem er offenbar aufgewachsen ist. detroit und dub und debussy und einer liebe für diese momente, in denen man das gewitter schon spüren kann. so ungefähr klingt die ganze lp. man wähnt sich immer in der nähe des unwetters, die sounds zeigen allesamt gen himmel und die wolken sind schneller als man gerade denken kann. dennoch sind alle guter dinge und tauschen kleine, melancholische sounds untereinander und schauen immer wieder nach oben. so rennt die platte immer weiter. irgendwann drängelt sich hiphop rein, von der anderen uferseite bläst eine trompete und das gewitter kommt immer näher. dieser lusine hat sich heimlich still und leise an allen anderen vorbeigeschummelt. jetzt ist er gott. und wie. killeralbum. (thaddi)



discography 04.2002:
l'usine. cd. isophlux. 1999
coded. 12", isophlux. 2000
a pseudo steady state. cd. u-cover. 2000
freak. 12". hymen records. 2000
zealectronic blue. 7". zeal. 2000
surface. 12". isophlux. 2001
slipthrough. 12". hymen records. 2001
coalition 2000. cd. u-cover. 2001
coalition 2000. 12". 2001
sustain. 10". delikatessen records. 2002


lusine webpage

a collaboration-release of hymen (¥721) & mad monkey records (mmr08) +