Rising Melbourne-based producer Luboku has gifted us his debut concept record ‘Space Walk’, exploring a narrative through space and it’s vast infinity. After already treating us to three beautiful songs such as ‘Pale Blue Dot’, ‘Lift Off’ and ‘Two Arms’ earlier in the year, I entered this album very hyped to see how Luboku would tie all these tracks together. Having walked into two of Luboku’s sets last year at Arcadia 2019 and then again, supporting New Zealand supergroup Leisure, I’ve experienced the producer’s ability to turn his live set into another realm increasing my anticipation for this LP.
From the moment you start the album with ‘Pale Blue Dot’, you are introduced by a spoken word monologue and you imagine everything goes dark. Slowly, as the synths begin to rise behind the voice, the stars begin to appear. This builds, leading into Part 2 of ‘Pale Blue Dot’, and then the small intermission of ‘T-Minus’. These three tracks provide the perfect qualities needed to open an album. They build tension, use monologues to provoke a thought and entice the listeners imagination. This speaks volumes of Luboku’s growth as a producer since his first releases in 2014 to now, showing his ability to execute a soundscape based on a premeditated thought.
Once the mood has been set in these opening tracks the album begins to introduce vocal-based tracks like ‘Let You’, ‘Lift Off’ and ‘Circles’. These collectively shone a light on the impressive songwriting ability of Luboku. Opening with ‘Lift Off’ we are launched into a world of excess and fantasy through his airy vocal melodies combined with shadowy synths and a thumping beat. Next we hear ‘Circles’ which was the familiar third single leading up to the release of the album. An absolute house groover, it explores the nuances of indecision with his rasp vocals gliding atop the energetic, driven production. ‘Let You’ follows suit with similar, widespread production providing the perfect bed for his vocals as he furthers the idea of indecision introduced in ‘Circles’.
Luboku slots in the shimmering, slow building house track ‘Apollo’ between these tracks to balance the mood and provide a moment of reprieve from the darker tones of the record.
As you enter the final scenes of ‘Space Walk’, the atmosphere and experience Luboku has built begins to peel back it’s layers and highlight the producers incredible ability to take your imagination to different places so seamlessly. Taking audio directly from the Apollo 11 mission, which if you’ve forgotten, was the first manned mission to land on the moon, Luboku looks at what’s directly in front of him with ‘Two Hands’. Although known mostly for his production, the combination of tone and ability in the artist’s voice is what will bring me back to this album again and again. The understated, ‘Completely’ strips back all that we would expect from the artist as he performs a Jeff Buckley style guitar progression alongside his shimmering vocals. This was by far, my favourite moment of the album, taking away a lot of the surrounding elements that we heard in previous tracks such as ‘Circles’. Luboku’s voice is shown in a more introspective, intimate setting, waving over the chord progression and teasing us, for more of what I hope is to come.
Concluding the album is a previously released track, ‘Solar Flare’ Combining long chord progressions, with subdued beats and an uplifting timbre, the song provides reflection and introspection on the vulnerability of our society as we compare our importance in relation to the vastness of space.
‘Space Walk’ is the quintessential concept album and the perfect execution of a premeditated idea leading a body of work. Inducing our imagination and provoking his listeners to think both inward and outward, Luboku has poured his years of experience into this debut and the outcome is nothing short of outstanding. I personally am excited to see what’s to come for the producer and I’m hopeful to see a ‘Luboku’ written sci-fi score…but, in the meantime I’ll continue to enjoy this beautiful album.