Melbourne’s Luboku, aka producer/songwriter Luis Kennett, is no average-sounding affair. He creates deep, shadowy production – a swirling haze of harmonies, marked with dark and brooding melodies – crafted into tracks that are at the same time uplifting and melancholic.
His debut release was a three-track EP At Dawn with NZ-based collaborator Hosaia in 2014. Luboku took charge of production, crafting a sweeping, delicate bed of music with Hosaia laying down vocals. Led by the single ‘Set to Go’ the At Dawn EP reached in excess of 50,000 streams in its first week, with Indie Shuffle noting it as containing“a strength and confidence well beyond most acts debuting their work together”. The release of the EP ignited something within 20-year-old Luboku, something he needed to pursue.
The following months were spent in the confines of his studio, refining a sound and recording in every spare moment. He wrote and he produced and he recorded, ideas overflowed onto new projects, but new projects also sparked new ideas - so he would tear it up and start over. It was a cycle - a gruelling two-year cycle that at times would become all too tiresome - but a cycle he needed to go through, one from which his new solo project would materialise.
Luboku’s debut solo single ‘The Surface’ was released in late 2017 - the first single from his forthcoming debut EP of the same name. ‘The Surface’ is an exploration of dark electronics, a creation of sounds that were harsh, brittle and organic – steamrolled by a thick, clean and synthetic surface. As a song it could just as easily soundtrack an afternoon festival slot in Melbourne as an underground club at dawn in Kreuzberg. As a sound, it sets Luboku as Australia’s answer to James Blake, only tinged with the bold energy of Jon Hopkins.
The critics were in. “…a wonderfully slow burning slice of left-field house music” – Pilerats; “one of the best electronic tracks of 2017” – Speaker TV; “You’re going to want to listen up... one of the more impressive debuts.” – Hilly Dilly; “Time stands still with this. A very pretty and upbeat debut.” – Claire Mooney, triple j Unearthed.
What Luboku strives to create are moments which encapsulate the realities of modern life; through lyrics, pace and style. Narratives that describe not only his own personal journey, but reflections on the times we live in. And in the time since setting his own standard to beat with ‘Set To Go’, Luboku’s been perfecting his craft; and on The Surface EP he creates a sound that splits the mood, at times seemingly at odds with everything else.