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Luboku talks us through his top inspirational artists of 2018

23 November 2018 | 9:02 am | Caitlin Medcalf

Happy new music Friday! One of my standout releases for the year has come today, and I don't say this lightly when I say that you should open up your streaming service of choice, type in LUBOKU and get the heck on streaming his debut EP The Surface. What are you waiting for?

Coming to us today with six tracks, the EP is characterised by lush tones, sweeping soundscapes and Luboku's absolute mastery when it comes to dissolving layers of sound and volume dynamics into one.

There's a real spectrum of energies and moods explored on this EP. To kick it off, we're thrown straight away into 'Without You', the first single to be taken from the release. It's a roaring number that uses vocal samples and some clever audio effects to build slowly and come crashing down at the track's completion. What's beautiful about this one is that it's emotive -  I think trying to creative emotive electronic music is extremely difficult. This one is really reminiscent of Jon Hopkins and more locally, Willaris K.

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The EP continues with '50 Days': a glitchy, upbeat take on vocal fragmentation; 'Closer': yes this one is a Ne-Yo cover! Deceptively dark at first glance, but candy sweet on the inside; and then we're brought to 'Lapse'.

This one feels like the magnum opus of the magnum opus. The atmosphere of this one sneaks up on you, the way he's paired slurred keys with crisp, light percussion. It's like that feeling you get after you've been in the sun all day and by nightfall, you're all relaxed and woozy. The juxtaposition in the sound design is honestly something to be marvelled at, and before you know it, the track's over.

'The Surface' brings it back to a quantised place. In the words of the artist himself, ''The Surface' is about searching for authenticity in a world stuck on the surface'. This track is all about celebrating the little nuances of sound. A staccato plucked guitar lightly accents his falsetto, and it's that sharp bongo in the background that ties this one altogether.

'None Of You' closes out the EP and is vocally, the standout of the record. He's stripped back the instrumental in a way that really allows for his voice to shine, and I think the production choices on this track are both clever and creative.

To get to know Luboku a little more, we asked him to give us a rundown of who he's been bumping through his headphones this year and why they may be significant to his project. These are Luboku's top inspirational artists of 2018.


I first discovered Yaeji when her standout track ‘Drink I’m Sippin’ On’ came up in my discover weekly. It was one of the freshest productions I had heard all year so I did some more digging and once I heard her 2nd EP (aptly titled EP2) I’ve been a fan ever since. I think Yaeji is doing some of the most forward thinking, interesting and progressive dance music at the moment.


It would be pretty much impossible for me to make a list of production inspiration excluding Jon Hopkins, he’s high up there as one of my strongest influences. There is something quite magical about the way he is able to wrap sound design into music without it sounding overly tricky or intellectual, I think he achieves this because at the core of all his productions is an emotive, beautifully composed piece of music.


It took me a while to get on the Channel Tres train, it’s not the sort of electronic music I usually listen to but it’s been silently winning me over for about 6 months now. I have found myself going back to his debut EP more than almost any release this year. It’s a really interesting mix of early Chicago style house mixed with a new grit and sophistication.


Little Simz has been putting out consistent gold for about 3 years now and I think she is just on the cusp of blowing up, in fact I’m pretty shocked she hasn’t yet. Easily on of my favorite MCs and I’ve listened to her stuff so much over the years. Keen as for this new album which is imminent!


Back in February this year, I was on a long haul flight travelling home to Australia. As usual I’d downloaded a bunch of new music to sink my teeth into. The plane had just completed it’s assent and outside was complete darkness, I pressed play on the first album - Moses Sumney’s Aromanticism - and was completely floored. I listened to the whole album through around 3 times on that flight alone and it’s still my favourite album 8 months on. It may be an oblique reference to my own music but a thoroughly important one.