Release Date: Jun 30, 2017
Record label: Brainfeeder
Genre(s): Electronic, Experimental Electronic, IDM, Left-Field Hip-Hop
The arc of Stuart Howard's releases as Lapalux has been a subtle but interesting movement through the different phases of decadence and messy nights out in seedy clubs and bars. His earliest releases swam around in a pool of dancefloor-induced sweat and laughs, staying fairly close to the tech and house roots that he was affiliated with. On his previous album, Lustmore, he attempted to take a deep dive into the world of hypnogagia - the place between sleeping and wakefulness - but coming in the aftermath of his clubbier releases, it more resembled the point in the night when you've had too much to drink, smoke or sniff, and the whole world around starts to blur and slide out of view.
An artist who coined his name while in "the lap of luxury" after one too many smokes, Lapalux toys with clanging percussion and sharp vocals on 'Ruinism'. The operatoric notes of GABI on 'Data Demon' will give you chills, while 'Petty Passion' is full of minatory distortion. Other highlights include the Louisahhh-featuring 'Rotten Arp', the JFDR-assisted 'Falling Down' and the TALVI team-up '4EVA' TALVI, with each of his collaborators bringing clarity to his discordant mania.
Lapalux's second album, Lustmore, was inspired by the semi-conscious state between wakefulness and sleep, but on follow-up Ruinism, he ventures into the territory separating life from death. While this might seem like a logical thematic transition, it results in a vastly different sound for the British artist. It's easily the darkest, eeriest work he's produced, replacing much of the yearning, lovelorn feelings of his previous work with alarmed ponderings about mortality.
UK producer Lapalux (real name Stuart Howard) continues his fruitful relationship with L.A. label Brainfeeder with his third full-length, the gloomy but often beautiful Ruinism. Throughout, Howard cements his reputation as a masterful soundscape artist, often using beats sparingly but without ever robbing his work of momentum or structure. It's a murky and melancholic affair, but it's never depressing, and when moments of lightness do occur, they're all the more poignant. Early track "Data Demon (ft.
How do you ruin technology? Technology is designed to fulfill a designated function. It may not work perfectly all of the time, but it is never designed to do anything other than fulfilling a need or application. Despite its flaws, technology is intended to assist, enrich and supplement our lives. Therefore, to tamper with it for it not to achieve its whole reason for existing would be self-defeating.
Until now, the music that Stuart Howard has put out as Lapalux has masked his tendency to labor over details until he's achieved perfection. The London producer built his previous two full-lengths and four EPs on a solid foundation of beats and melodies. On Ruinism, his third full-length, Howard abandons his trademark emphasis on grooves, vocals, R&B, hip hop, and jazz in favor of a less immediately listener-friendly blend of abstract sounds.
They then acted out the scene backwards, using this backwards dialogue, before Lynch played the finished scene backwards so everything came out forwards. It's an odd technique, but this want to experiment yielded some truly unique results. It's Lynch as a risk taker paying off hugely. The same could be said for producer Stuart Howard aka Lapalux , whose third LP Ruinism is not content with following the rules.
An artist aiming to be signed by his musical hero's record label should probably do something to really, truly make him stand out from said idol's countless other followers. It's one thing to sound similar to a source of inspiration; it's another to actually understand the topical abstractions this musical/spiritual guide is exploring. No wonder Lapalux (aka Stuart Howard) has already released an EP and two albums on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label; the two producers have repeatedly explored their fascinations with death and sleep in their 2010s work.
Stuart Howard, better known as Lapalux has been slowly rising in both the UK and US electronic scenes, thanks in no small part to his label, Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder imprint. The Essex-born producer previously explored the idea of hypnagogia, the phenomenon of consciousness between being awake and asleep, on his last album, 2015's Lustmore and goes even further with that concept here, his third LP Ruinism exploring the limbo between life and death. Indeed, Lapalux's music feels suspended in outer space, not quite to the point of ambience but certainly at a downtempo.
The creative process can too often be one of endless layering. Weaving intricacies on top of one another, original ideas tread the fine line between being smothered or embellished. It's for this reason, then, that simplicity is habitually the hardest tone to strike. Yet, Essex-based producer Stuart Howard, aka Lapalux, is peeling away at the layers in his third LP, 'Ruinism', gesturing towards a disintegrated core.