Erik Luebs – Absolute Presence

Absolute Presence is a very loaded title for an EP. In the literal sense, all presence is in fact absolute if we occupy the same dimension, and yet in the figurative form our conscious still holds many mysteries and begs to question if we are actually ever present at all. At the same time the title of Erik Luebs latest EP could also be a command, a pre-requisite for the music contained within. “If you are about to embark on the musical journey that is ahead, your absolute presence is required.“ Or something like that? The music is far more aloof in this application of the term and the opening track, Farewell almost immediately encourages the listener’s thoughts to drift off into the unknown of the subconscious as billowing soundcsapes conspire to form a lush vehicle to depart this figurative sense of the present. Even the title of the opening track is suspect as the producer bids us farewell before we’ve arrived, insinuating that absolute presence is perhaps the very thing Erik Lueb wants to avoid.

It’s this last idea that’s most promising in the music. Lueb pads his two-step dubby rhythms with translucent layers of foggy synthesis that draw heavily from influences of drone and ambient music, and re-appropriates them in the context of dance tracks. I discern two distinct parts to Absolute Presence, with the first three tracks very reminiscent of the UK house tradition of Floating Points and Dark Sky, before moving into a second half more akin to the experimentalist aptitude of the Berlin Techno artist. During Reawakening, the final track, Lueb drifts very close to drone Techno, as white noise and harsh metallic sounds spoil the serenity of the preceding tracks. It’s as if Lueb is tracking a journey, from the moment we bid farewell to the moment we are reawakened within the moment, the present if you will. It’s an interesting sequence of tracks, and while at first I was sceptical, believing perhaps that Lueb was bucking to various trends through the course of the EP, it in fact becomes quite evident that there’s a concerted effort to combine elements of drone and ambience from the world of experimental Techno with the two-step garage inclinations of UK house.

Lueb is most effective in this pursuit on Losing it and there’s a particular charm in the melodic synthesises and how it’s grounded in the harmonic foot print of the lower frequencies. The captivating rhythms of the percussion, which often fall into a pitched kick, are invigorating and would be quite effective in the club-environment. Losing it might be a star track on the EP, but it’s hard not to listen to it in the context of the entire EP, where it forms a critical connection to the beginning and end of the EP. Without this, it would have been impossible to connect the dots between Farewell and Reawakening, forming a crucial step in becoming absolutely present. Only when you are here and now can you appreciate the EP in full, and although many tracks, especially those short in-between numbers, might work well in a passive listening experience it’s only when you’ve come to terms with the all the various pieces that Absolute Presence achieves its absolute allure.