- Six years after 100% Galcher, the US artist's drowsy club fantasies still draw you in.
- Galcher Lustwerk is a fantasy creation: an avatar for excess and mystery in a world turned rigid and sterile. The Cleveland-born, Brooklyn-based artist behind the project has been perfecting his sound since 2013, when the 100% Galcher mixtape laid out a louche, lysergic and resolutely black take on deep house. Through subsequent albums Dark Bliss and last year's sprawling 200% Galcher, the Galcher Lustwerk world has become a comforting hideaway. It's music to sink into, on headphones or on crumpled sheets, or when you're pulling down the blinds at 7 AM. With Information, Lustwerk's first album for Ghostly, that familiar sound has been souped up with live drums and, on some tracks, poppier song structures. Otherwise, dropping the needle on Information is much like bumping into him outside the club and wondering if he's been to bed since the last time you did this.
But Lustwerk's music is an endlessly fruitful dichotomy: one on hand, there's the elegance and poise, the zipped-up drums, the milk-bath pads, the swaggering basslines walking downtown and uptown and downtown again. On the other, there's Lustwerk as our nighttime host, talking himself up in whorls of free-associating hedonism: you-and-me, VIP, LSD, and on he goes. On Information, this tension is perfectly illustrated on "Another Story," which imagines what would happen if Larry Heard got locked in a studio with Migos and a palmful of perkys. There's the luxuriant deep house, nodding to the upwardly mobile aspirations of quiet storm R&B—then there's Lustwerk getting into the Migos flow, right down to the ad libs: "Hit a snare, hit a hat (hat)."
The contrast is absurd as well as funny. Lustwerk has mentioned his hip-hop influences in interviews, naming underground acts like Quasimoto and Company Flow, and his vocals are true to rap-game theatrics. Sure, the life described in his music sounds glamorous—but it was recorded in a closet and the Lambo was rented by the hour. Lustwerk might well be the night-crawling figment of a bedroom-bound producer's mind. We can imagine him staying up all night, staring into a grey screen, in order to take his alter ego on an endless nocturnal adventure: "I just do it for the glory, I just drink another 40," he mumbles.
Along with "Another Story," several tracks feel especially tight—some of his "hookier" material, as he's described it. The punchy verse-chorus dynamic of "I See A Dime" could be inspired by Lustwerk's own acolytes, echoing the poppier hip-house of Channel Tres and Yaeji. "Bit" is one of his best yet, led by a beefy kick drum and driving bass guitar, with nods to '80s radio hits and the pitch-shifted raps of Quasimoto. And "Cig Angel" is a quivering beauty soundtracking Lustwerk's encounter with an "angel" who could "hit the club and go to work in the same clothes"—there's even a poptastic key change.
Elsewhere he scatters several instrumentals and low-key drifters, like the cloud-rapping "Plainview," all built to the same spec and at one with the Galcher Lustwerk cinematic universe. Near the end of the 45 minutes we arrive at "Been A Long Night." The downers have cancelled out the uppers, the fractals are wearing off, the edges are all blurred. It's as if he's stumbled home in the early hours and jammed something out in the final ten minutes of consciousness. Like all of Lustwerk's music, it's moody, it's sensual, it's vaguely ridiculous. It's a total fantasy—which makes it all the easier to get swept away.
01. Left In The Dark
02. I See A Dime
03. Another Story
04. Overpay, Overstay
08. Cig Angel
09. Fathomless Irie
10. Been A Long Night
12. Cig Angel (Dance Mix)