Wednesday, 30 September 2009
PRE-ORDER: FaltyDL - Bravery EP [Planet Mu]
Drew Lustman’s ‘Love Is A Liability’ long-player stands unchallenged as one of the finest electronic releases of this year thus far, regardless of genre. His beats as FaltyDL tread a strangely instinctive line between pleasingly complex and downright awkward, yet somehow manage to avoid falling into the trap of losing their intrinsic sense of groove and danceability; hence the dizzying spirals and sudden twists of his debut album’s highlights, ‘To New York’ and ‘The Shape To Come,’ hold a melodic and rhythmic intricacy that sets them in as good stead for late-night headphone listens as for a packed floor. In fact, in the four months since its release ‘Love Is A Liability’ has more or less usurped Burial’s first record as my post-club journey home soundtrack.
Never one to rest on his laurels, during the next month or so the man’s got a new 12” to come on Ramp, ‘Party,’ as well as ‘Bravery,’ his follow-up proper on Planet Mu. Immediately striking is the divergent movement of the two releases – in ‘Party’ he’s further channeled the restless UK garage spirit of his earlier material into a melancholy dancefloor mover, but the other material is different somehow. The ‘Bravery’ EP is a far less immediate listen than its predecessor, stripped of its devotion to a straightforward skip and seemingly more interested in exploring the outer reaches of its parent genre. Opener ‘You Made Me Feel So Right’ is a case in point – the mournful vocal sample of the title rides over an entirely reversed two-step beat. It’s an uncomfortable and introspective listen, its down pitched voices and nocturnal ambience a million miles from a tune like ‘Human Meadow.’
Still, it feels as though detaching his music from the pressures of the floor has allowed Lustman the stylistic and melodic freedom to travel far beyond the self-set limits of ‘Love Is A Liability’ in search of deeper treasures. The expedition has unearthed some real gems - the title track in particular is heart stopping, an opening drunken swagger parting to allow room for a gorgeous sliced vocal breakdown, before a 4/4 kick suddenly sweeps it into space for a few blissful seconds. ‘Tronman’ sets a foreboding drone against escalating percussive aggression, and much of the record shares as much common ground with LA glitch-hop as with its more overt garage and dubstep influences. That said, it’s impossible to miss a warped cameo from Mary Anne Hobbs on ‘Mother Beam,’ no matter how much he messes with her distinctive voice.
In their latest issue, Wire’s main criticism of ‘Bravery’ was its supposed ‘bloodlessness’. I’m not entirely sure how they came to that conclusion. It’s not an easy listen, nor is it slavishly devoted to a single sound, but to call FaltyDL’s music bloodless is to deny the human heart that obviously beats at its core. Only a living being could have made music this brilliantly weird.
Words: Rory Gibb
Out: 12th October