Luxi's "Geometric Universe" LP is an Electro-Pop Masterpiece

Jan. 17, 2017
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Luxi’s last record astral memories (p a r a d i s e) was one of our favorite Milwaukee albums of last year, but it wasn’t exactly an easy sell. With its pervasive melancholy and hazy, washed-out production, it sometimes felt like the work of an artist in retreat, obscuring her best ideas as if out of fear of calling too much attention to them. On her follow-up Geometric Universe, though, Luxi is no longer downplaying her obvious songwriting chops. Bigger and bolder than its predecessor, yet even more openly emotional, it strikes an implausible balance between intimacy and spectacle, like an open mic performance punctuated with pyrotechnics. It’s one of the most engrossing electronic releases I’ve heard in years.

This is still a Luxi album, though, so it takes a little while to crawl out of its shell. But after the ethereal buildup of “Body Volume” and “Dust Fades,” the fireworks come one after another. Nearly every song is punchier than the last, until the record hits peak frenzy on “Every Night,” a skyscraper-toppling monster of track:

So it turns out volume is Luxi’s friend—who knew?—and while the implosive bass wobbles might seem at odds with her whole small-scale pop thing, she makes fantastic use of them. The even more valuable addition is drummer Joshua Jenquin, a new recruit who already feels so integral to the project it’s hard to imagine these songs without him. His kit lends these songs some drum-and-bass propulsion, but more importantly it adds another living, breathing element for Luxi to play off of. Just listen to how the two converse with each other on “S M I L E”:

Or the full-court press the two launch on closer “S P A R K.”

“If I’m the water you’re the fire,” Luxi sings on that track, in one of at least two times that she likens herself to water on the album. Water is as apt a metaphor as any for the veneer of composure she wears on these songs. She remains, as always, a cool, rational presence, vulnerable yet unflappable (her Sade-by-way-of-Portishead poise on the smoldering “Next 2 U” is one of the album’s highlights). She may not be the fire, then, but she sure seems to relish it, because Geometric Universe burns hot.

Geometric Universe is available for free streaming and name-your-price download at Luxi’s Bandcamp page. She’s also selling CD copies that include a 10-page zine. The Milwaukee label Radiograffiti is planning a vinyl release, possibly with a different track order, for later this spring. You can stream the complete album below. Luxi also has several shows lined up for this month, including a show at Club Garibaldi's with a bunch of excellent local electronic acts on Saturday, Jan. 21, an afternoon gig at Company Brewing as part of Riverwest FemFest on Sunday, Jan. 22, and a headlining spot at the next installment of MELT on Saturday, Jan. 28


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