Interview: Lusine

The Brief


Lusine is the alias of electronic musician Jeff McIlwain, whose work has been variously described as ambient, downtempo, house, IDM, and techno. In collaboration with composer David Wingo, McIlwain has created scores for films directed by David Gordon Green and Meredith Danluck. His music has also been featured in Jeff Nichols’ film Mud. Lusine’s most recent album, Sensorimotor, was released in 2017 on Ghostly International.

This is the second interview in a five-part series celebrating our favourite electronic and synth music albums of 2017. You can read the other interviews in this series here: Annie Hart, Blanck Mass, Yumi Zouma, Hauschka.

Which film would you recommend to our readers?
Nobody Knows, directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. A simple, haunting, and beautiful film in every aspect.

Which album would you recommend to our readers?
Endless Summer by Fennesz. Simultaneously nostalgic and abrasive, like something really dark is hiding just below the surface.          

Which architectural work would you recommend to our readers?
I was just in Prague, and was mesmerised by the bizarre Žižkov TV Tower, designed by Václav Aulický and Jiří Kozák. The artist David Černý added ten fibreglass sculptures of crawling babies to the side of the tower in 2000, making it doubly surreal.

Which journalistic work would you recommend to our readers?
Disunion: The Civil War, a series of articles in the New York Times. I love history and long-form writing.


The following questions relate to our Perspectives column, in which two writers respond to an artwork that they are experiencing for the first time.

Are artists always driven by personal experience?
Yes. It is impossible not to be.

Do film adaptations of books or video games devalue the original?
Not if they strive to be a departure from the original in a unique way.

Should critics assess art based on their personal likes and dislikes?
Only if they can like or dislike the work on its own terms. If they dislike the style or genre, they should not assess the work.

States of the Arts

The following questions relate to our States of the Arts column, for which each article includes four artworks that share an association with a single nation or territory.

Which Norwegian artwork would you recommend to our readers?
Melody A.M., an album by Röyksopp, is a classic that never gets old for me. A perfect pop/electronic hybrid.

Which Polish artwork would you recommend to our readers?
Blind Chance, a film directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski. It’s one of the more thoughtful films that are based on the concept of alternative narrative outcomes.

Which South Korean artwork would you recommend to our readers?
3-Iron, a film directed by Kim Ki-duk. An interesting, genre-bending film with a unique story and an interesting South Korean perspective.

The art of discovery

The following questions relate to Silent Frame’s aim to celebrate the art of discovery.

For you, is artistic discovery a private or shared experience?
It’s about 70% private, 30% shared. My personal experience is what matters to me the most, although it can often be informed by other people’s reactions.

What question would you like to ask other Silent Frame interviewees?
How much of your work borrows from other artists, and where do you draw the line?

More to discover

Lusine: Visit Jeff McIlwain’s website here, visit the Ghostly International website here, watch a video for the single ‘Just a Cloud’ here, and listen to a live performance for KEXP here. You can buy Lusine's latest album, Sensorimotor, here.

Today’s recommendations: Nobody Knows (trailer), Endless Summer (title track from the album), Žižkov TV Tower (information), Disunion: The Civil War (article series), Melody A.M. (‘So Easy’, the album’s opening track), Blind Chance (trailer), 3-Iron (trailer).

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