FaltyDL - In The Wild

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  • 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. Just as Actress did on the labyrinthine Ghettoville, Lustman demonstrates that an album of fragmentary pieces, jump-cuts and tonal lurches is not necessarily the sign of an untidy mind. It's clear that every second of In The Wild has been painstakingly calibrated. For instance, the contrast between the spectral wash of sound that is "Aqui, Port Lligat," the chirruping, quicksilver "New Haven" and the gaseous, ambient atmospherics of "Uptight" could not be more different, yet the those tracks segue with the logic of an artfully programmed DJ set. The transitions are as smooth as a magician turning over cards in an elegant sleight of hand. Emotionally and geographically, In The Wild is expansive, unexpected and contradictory. "Nine" has the hot, muggy atmosphere of a tropical clearing, yet Lustman builds that track up from, of all things, Arthur Russell-esque cello, giving it a peculiar darkness. The scorched deserts of Texas and New Mexico are evoked on "Dos Gardenias," not just with the familiar signifier of Spaghetti Western acoustic guitar, but with heavy Delia Derbyshire-style synths. You get the feeling this isn't just a desert of heat and dust, but also one of sinister criminality and alien abductions. You could describe the emotional tone of In The Wild as one of faded melancholia, but it's far more complex than that. Even the downcast and sonically grubby tracks have moments of beauty piercing the gloom. Indeed, several tracks exist in an enigmatic third realm, where abject sadness and euphoria seem indivisibly entwined. The keening, chiming top-line and skittering tribal rhythms of "Do Me" seem to, momentarily, hark back to the effervescence of Jamie XX or early Joy O, before descending into barrelling techno territory. A voice repeats "do me harm" in what could just as easily be an accusation as an S&M come-on. "Heart & Soul" is a bizarre junglist feint, its vocal seemingly lifted from a badly warped cassette of some 1950s girl-group. Some people may find all this frustrating. In The Wild is a circuitous sprawl that ducks any A-to-B linear progression. It's occasionally derivative, too ("Some Jazz Shit" could be an old DJ Shadow track). But for me it's a fascinating mosaic in which every tiny detail lends colour and depth to a work of real, high-minded seriousness.
  • Tracklist
      01. Aquí, Port Lligat 02. New Haven 03. Uptight 04. Do Me 05. Greater Antilles Part 1 06. Nine 07. Frontin 08. Untitled 12 09. Ahead The Ship Sleeps 10. Rolling 11. Dos Gardenias 12. Heart & Soul 13. Grief 14. In The Shit 15. Dånger 16. Some Jazz Shit 17. Greater Antilles Part 2