- Galcher Lustwerk makes some of the coolest house music out there. His stoned, casual grooves act as a base for monotone raps sticking to themes of sex, drugs and money. He trades in louche amorality and catchy deep house, and the formula has helped him cross over to music fans who don't typically gravitate towards vinyl-only dance floor releases. Road Hog offers more subtle charms. There are no vocals in his online-only side project, which centers on our protagonist's obsession with driving. Furthermore, many of these tunes feel like unfussy sketches, moody, simple grooves that roll down the line as opposed to singles like, say, "Leisure." It fits into an American tradition of car-centric dance music originating in the Motor City itself.
Road Hog's sounds and themes point towards a nostalgia, a paradoxical idealization of the American road. First off, the producer is currently based in New York City, so it stands to reason that he's not driving all that much. And On The Lam includes a track called "East Cleveland," a nod to Lustwerk's Midwestern background. Other titles seem to juxtapose the appeal of the open road with the fear of police abuse. Road Hog's debut, D.W.B (which stands for Driving While Black), contains the mournful "Got A D.W.B.," but ends with a bouncy, melodic tune called "Freedom." On The Lam's last track, "Drugs," features a hopeful, boogie-funk keyboard solo implying our buzzed hero is still truckin', one step ahead of the law. Lustwerk's blacktop is both a cause of and escape from his problems.
Theo Parrish documented this struggle on "Welcome Back," a "pulled over by the cops" narrative off last year's American Intelligence. While Road Hog doesn't bear much similarity to that record's organic sound, On The Lam also lives in the highway entanglements of the American Midwest. Perhaps it's no accident that his sound falls close to other car-obsessed natives of the region. "Stretch," one of the album's highlights, is built on the kind of soulful chassis that made Omar-S famous. Carl Craig's "Landcruising" is also a thematic cousin, though the Detroit icon's melodic gymnastics are a little out of Lustwerk's reach for now.
As with any good driver, Lustwerk gets a lot out of small, smooth movements. "Caught In The Rain" cloaks a pensive progression with whooshing resonance, which nails the bleary-eyed feeling of staring through wipers at night. "Hydroplaning" would be the logical next step in that scenario, but Road Hog's version of slipping out of control seems to be the slo-mo music video sort. The track's pleasantly repetitious synth motif keeps him looking cool as ever.
01. I-95N Lens Switch
02. East Cleveland
04. Caught In The Rain