Before 2012, the music of New York producer Drew Lustman aka FaltyDL was synonymous with a few things for me: Ninja Tune, good remixes and bits and bobs. That is to say that I’d have been hard-pressed to give you any information or descriptions of his music other than something along the lines of “hazy electronica”. It wasn’t easy to pin down.
A press release for his 2011 album You Stand Uncertain follows that logic:
“The entire album is soaked in muggy, sweaty tropical tourism”
“These seem to liquefy and pool around the drums, never quite solidifying or staying in one place.”
“The album’s cohesion manifests both in its songwriting and aesthetic, dusty and muffled as if sampled in its entirety from the remains of forgotten, half-melted records”
Lucid, loose and uncertain. Hard to grasp.
The followup is easier to grasp in terms of what it actually is. Hardcourage is a gentle emotive house and techno album informed by jazz and soul music and inspired by love. There’s a clarity to its tracklisting. Its 10 tracks have a refreshing directness to them for a dude who previously liked to coat his beats in a glossy gauze.
Right out of the blocks with ‘Stay I’m Changed’, there’s a quivering in your face synthline leading proceedings. Lustman clearly has one eye on the dancefloor. The album’s only vocal cut ‘She Sleeps’ features Friendly Fires’ Ed MacFarlane and his languid coo is a perfect match for the song’s hushed house while early single ‘Straight & Arrow’ is a bleeping jazz-tinged soulful delight.
Taking his cues from the expressive side of jazz rather than the indulgent characteristics of the genre lend melodic weight to ‘For Karme’, the electronic boogie woogie of ‘Kenny Rolls One’ and beats to ‘Finally Some Shit/The Rain Stopped’, the latter which benefits from the tension of its sample base which sounds poised to break out into a jazz number.
In between, Lustman is drawn to the sounds of those who have recently remixed his work. The gentle emotive dance music of Four Tet and Gold Panda are obvious references on ‘Uncea’ and the synth-heavy ‘Korben Dallas’. The album all culminates in the gorgeous sax-sampling ‘Bells’ an uplifting serene instrumental that recalls the majesty of Apparat’s finest moments.
No longer is FaltyDL’s music “soaked in muggy, sweaty tropical tourism,” Hardcourage is instead, by osmosis, soaked in the sounds of the best of electronic music today. The brave mix of genres and influences produces a release entirely his own though. Lustman has stepped out of the haze.
The album is out today. Get it at All City.