Release Date: Aug 12, 2014
Record label: Ninja Tune
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance, Indie Electronic
Drew Lustman, AKA FaltyDL, clearly doesn't play things straight, restlessly flipping between two-step, house and Brainfeeder-style beats. In his review of 2013's Hardcourage, Andrew Ryce praised his newfound focus as a "welcome trend." And what does the New York producer deliver next? A 17-track opus of, if not infinite variety, certainly excursions into beatific, sun-drenched lounge jazz (“Ahead The Ship Sleeps”) and drum & bass (“Danger”), which also includes five short mood interludes.In a way, the world has come around to Lustman's way of thinking. The idea of provisional eclecticism, half-ideas and ostensibly at-odds sections of music being stitched together is now commonplace, particularly in bass music.
Dreamy, smooth, slow burners have long been at the command of N.Y.C.-based producer Drew Lustman (aka FaltyDL), but on his fourth studio album, In the Wild, the producer has upped the ante with -- of all things -- a new soundfield. Crafted with artist Chris Shen, the album is a spatial wonder, reflecting the outdoor nature of its title with a soundfield that sounds like the great outdoors. Pillowy, cloudlike melodies echo and fade, or sometimes get swept away by the wind, and there's nothing up-front or "in your face" about it, as everything sounds crystal-clear but at least five feet away from the (virtual) microphone.
A fervent community of Northeast American electronic producers has abandoned the hard-hitting, four-on-the-floor, bass-drop aesthetic that permeated techno and the like since the mid-’90s, American dubstep notwithstanding. It’s not necessarily a new trend, as producers like Oneohtrix Point Never have been creating challenging yet stylistically-grounded forms of electronic music since the end of the noughties, but it is one whose newfound audience is much more in the mainstream, as seen by the success of OPN’s R Plus Seven. In The Wild, the fourth full-length since 2009 by Drew Lustman, aka FaltyDL, passes through an incredibly diverse range of musical styles – from Chicago house to British downtempo – and, for the most part, it navigates them quite successfully, becoming a satisfactory if tiring addition to the scene.
I once played FaltyDL's "Metacognist" three times in a row in a Berlin nightclub. Not because people kept shouting for rewinds, but I had the opening slot and wanted to begin my set with the song, which seemed like it would be perfect for creating a sense of atmosphere, given its dusky, slow-burning qualities. I had forgotten, however, that it takes time for the few people who actually arrive by midnight to get through coat check, make their way up the stairs, and so on, so I just kept on playing it until the first clubbers finally walked in the room, feeling satisfied that my careful attention to scene-setting hadn't gone to waste.
The fourth album from New York beatsmith FaltyDL (aka Andrew Lustman), is certainly well named: the record stumbles between pastoral ambience and feral beats in what is a discomfiting but sometimes beautiful collection. Lustman’s weapons of choice are chopped samples, stately jazz chords, synth washes and awkward rhythms that never quite settle. The effect is a mixture of menace and calm, often within the same song.
For his fourth release, New York-based producer FaltyDL returns with In the Wild, a broad, patchy, semi-traversable landscape of lithe melodies and drifting ambience, and a notable departure from the house-y grounding of prior release Hardcourage. The charm of the disconnected, breezy path that starts the album — seeming interludes punctuated by the odd story of a more solid, structured track — quickly wears thin when you realize said path meanders, the tracks mostly underdeveloped, only occasionally rolling into a bigger sound with tangible depth. In the Wild's two singles, in fact, are the only tracks to give buoyancy to the album.
There are moments on this well-respected, Radiohead-approved New York electronic artist's latest album that live up to the title: The chopped-up samples on "New Haven" sound like the broken breaths of someone running from a predator. But too many of these songs are so relaxed and jazzy that they wouldn't be out of place in an upscale hotel lobby. FaltyDL's signature clanky percussion and eerie vibe save tracks like "In the Shit" from becoming easy-listening, but it's not quite enough.
The video for FaltyDL’s “New Haven” begins with a woman waking up in a startled state. Her eyes shift around her bedroom wildly before she sits bolt upright in bed and slowly stares at her hands. There’s a sense of troubling confusion that hangs over the scene. The woman can’t seem to tell if she’s actually woken up; it’s as though the processing ability of her mind is still muddled and murky, covered in haze.
FaltyDL— In the Wild (Ninja Tune)As much as any American electronic producer, Drew Lustman has created a voice that feels part of the UK bass dialog, having mixed or been remixed by the likes of Four Tet, Scuba and Mount Kimbie. Like those artists, his work as FaltyDL is skeptical of really big beats. The layers in his tunes feel like they’re drawn from natural and acoustic sources, even under heavy manipulations.
The thing about putting yourself out there in the wild is while you can roam wherever you want, you don’t quite know what you’re letting yourself in for. It’s that element of danger that FaltyDL plays with on his fourth studio album In The Wild, which finds him recreating that feeling of being both liberated and a little bit afraid. Last we heard from Drew Lustman, he was producing music that came the closest he’d ever dared go to an album of radio-friendly tracks on 2013’s Hardcourage, sporting guest vocals from Ed MacFarlane and accessible melodies without losing any of the haphazard jazz inflections of his earlier releases.
STREAM IN THE WILD: opinion byBRENDAN FRANK Drew Lustman’s latest as FaltyDL is a heady buffet of sound and color, gluttonously helping itself to two-step, house, ambient and about two dozen other subgenres over 55 minutes. Lustman splits his time between fluttering effects, staggered vocal samples and stutter-step beats. With no unifying style from moment to moment, the lone commonality within these songs is their sense of adventurousness.