Its been 13 years since we saw a proper Laidback Luke album. In that time, Lucas van Scheppingen or Laidback Luke has mesmerized the Electronic Dance Music community with his remixes and by being recognized as a virtuoso in the steadily fading but ever evolving art of Disc Jockeying. He is without doubt, one of the most experienced acts in the entirety of the “EDM” scene and to certify this title he took to the studio to deliver his latest album ‘Focus’.
A peculiar thing about this album is that it is supposed to act as a time capsule regarding the present EDM scene. It is to say that we see the prevalent styles of production through the eyes of Laidback Luke. Featuring the likes of Trevor Guthrie, Aruna, Sam Ashworth, Harrison, Natalia Isabella, More & Killa Karma and the ever entertaining Amba Shepherd on vocal duties on various tracks, the album is in no way lacking variety in terms of both talent and style. Other producers on the album include the legendary Benny Benassi, Yellow Claw, Dirtcaps, acoustic newcomer Mangal Suvarnan, Mixmash artists D.O.D and Marc Benjamin, Luciano Martina and Florida based duo o GTA. Hence, it may not be wrong to say that the album artist roster is quite a stellar one indeed.
The album kicks off with a 48 second intro (which would still cost you $1.49 on iTunes) only to be followed by the excellent track from Laidback Luke, combining the vocal prowess of the ‘This Is What It Feels Like’ hit-maker. A great follow up from GTA and the Mixmash Record head honcho on the next rack featuring vocals from Aruna. The vibes on this Future House track are great! On the job next up is Sam Ashworth pairing up Luke to create a tropical sound influenced track. Then Luke takes it onto himself to develop a big room sound to give us ‘Killa Sound’. The next interesting part of the album is the track with 17 year old Luciano Martina which features a classic 80’s electronic sound to it.
Aiming for simplicity this time and pleasing to the core, we are presented with ‘Never Forget’. Combining forces with fellow Mixmash artist D.O.D, the next track ‘We Party’ is just full of dance floor energy. It will get you shuffling in no time! Keeping it within the Mixmash camp, the following collaboration with Marc Benjamin is a proper progressive gem. Melodic and mesmerizing the artists really create a mellifluous track. Reverting to his own producer desk, Laidback Luke features solo on Techno sounding ‘Scandinavia’. Biggest collaboration on this album is up next in the shape of Luke combining with Benny Benassi and featuring Amba Shepherd on the vocals. The trio deliver in their respective aspects and the track really has a wonderful melody to it. Back solo, Laidback Luke goes back to his bass roots with ‘The Rut’. Over-riding the vocals from Harrison with the pop sounding melody on the next track, the album showcases ‘Never Rave Again’.
Luke partners with Yellow Claw and Dirty Caps to give us ‘Mic’. With a flat bass and trap influenced sounds the track is as sick as it gets. Letting himself be fully detached to a genre, Laidback Luke utilizes vocals from Natalia Isabella to create pop influenced ‘Fantasizing’. Going alone for the second last track, Luke lets free his musical prowess in ‘Wudang’. Last track on the album is a collaboration between Laidback Luke and acoustic guitarist Mangal Suvarnan. The duo produce the most fitting end to the album combining the best of both worlds and ending the album on a comforting note.
All in all, it’s a great return for the Dutchman to the album scene. With so many albums doing rounds in the community, there isn’t any doubt regarding the significance of this one. Here Laidback Luke is not binding himself to a particular genre, he lets himself be the communicator of the entire scene. He portrays what he thinks are the prevalent sounds of the entire Electronic community. From acoustic guitars to trap sounds, the album covers the entire spectrum. A great album, from a great artist!
Out for purchase here.