The more things change, the more they stay the same. We live in a fascinating time for music, where global connection brings a tidal wave of diversity to the human collection of recorded music. And yet, with all the diversity one can turn on the radio and find that everything sounds the same. It’s simple flow - most people find themselves following the status quo, going with the crowd to avoid taking the unique path. Inevitably they lose their context and find themselves in a place of homogeneity with no idea how they arrived there.
Enter BLUKE - the odd couple, the dynamic duo, the thinkers in the game. Two men whose understanding span the arc of music history in a concise time - namely the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Students of old school Hip-Hop, Go-Go music, soul and funk, Blurum13 and Luke Vibert carefully acquire the music of this time, poring over it for historical context and sifting through for the gems. Vibert is that cat hanging around the record store, piling up a stack of albums and 45s that you’ve never heard of. Blurum13 is his vocal counterpart, with a voice that sits exactly outside of any range you’ve heard.
Together these two casually ignore the masses and their direction, rooting themselves in a funky, swinging, carefree yet purposeful beat. Somehow they manage to stay completely in the golden days of Hip-Hop without sounding like anyone else - historically correct but as fresh as this week’s hot single. After dusting off their shelved first project, Smell The Urgency, the pair returned in 2019 with Sense The Urgency, complete with dynamic street art that reveals the combination of street style, swagger, and just plain groove that lies in the recording.
True to both artists’ extensive experience and discography, Sense The Urgency showcases the depth of talent unique to each. The album is replete with expert sample-stitching, like the vintage video game sounds on Omnipotent or the whistling banjo duet on Happy Daze. From the chunky 70s bass lines of Gimme a Sign, to the rapid-fire scratches and litanies of Something Fresh (ft. DJ SPS), to the lazy quirk of Turninitup, BluRum and Vibert trap and entrance our senses, raising and respecting our consciousness along the way. Tempos rise and fall with precision, Blu flexes hard on shiners like Grind, with Vibert’s expert production laying a soaring foundation for Blu’s lightning-yet-laidback rhymes that you have to listen to again and again to fully extract their multilayered meaning. Most wonderfully, Vibert sets his whimsical side free again, giving BluRum the room to write Couldabin, a love song for lovers of artists, and even leave us with the sweet summer banger Slide By. As per the imperative of Machine Gums, with Sense The Urgency BLUKE leaves a legacy unmatched in Hip-Hop to date.