Chicago pop wiz Luke Titus steps out from behind his drum kit | Music Review | Chicago Reader

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Chicago pop wiz Luke Titus steps out from behind his drum kit


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Luke Sangerman, who performs and records as Luke Titus, is 24 years old but has the skill set and intuition of a seasoned veteran. He’s had a long music career for someone his age: He joined the Blue Man Group as a stage-band drummer at age 15, becoming the youngest American ever hired by the international performance-art ensemble. And for a decade now he’s been a key player in the young Chicago scene where pop, hip-hop, and rock overlap. He played in sorely short-lived fusion soul band Woo Park (which also featured in-demand guitarist Brian Sanborn), and he’s collaborated with Noname, Phoelix, and Ravyn Lenae. I’ve almost always seen Titus behind the kit onstage, and his freakishly precise drumming commands attention even when he’s supporting a star. But his ambitions extend far beyond percussion. On his new debut album as Luke Titus, Plasma (Sooper), he’s a one-man band, packing kinetic frisson into stylistically freewheeling pop songs. He jumbles together clattering percussion, limber guitars, and robust synths that evoke classic funk records; sometimes he plays every instrument at white-knuckle speed, and just as often he leans slowly into a sumptuous R&B melody. Lenae, Qari, and Elton Aura add guest vocals to Plasma, but Titus mostly handles the mike himself. On top of everything else he can do, he's a strong singer with an intense falsetto and star power to match—and who knows what other gifts he has yet to show off.   v

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