It seems almost impossible to go through seven days without the arrival of another Danny Wolfers track at the moment, and true to form, another 12″ arrived from the producer this week on Unknown To The Unknown.
Listen to FaltyDL’s smoky remix of “Heartbreaker”, a highlight of the first single taken from British soul singer Alice Russell’s forthcoming album To Dust.
Further details on Hardcourage, FaltyDL’s forthcoming album for Ninja Tune have surfaced along with a video for lead single “Straight & Arrow”.
FaltyDL will be launching his new Straight & Arrow EP through Ninja Tune very soon, and we have a pair of tickets to the London launch party to give away.
Four Tet, Gold Panda and Mike Q have been called on to remix the new single from FaltyDL, which will precede the release of the producer’s third album, due out next year via Ninja Tune.
There’s always an air of uncertainty that hovers around a fresh Falty DL release before you set it off and submit your ears to it. Drew Lustman has adopted a chameleonic trajectory since first emerging just five years ago in the midst of a dubstep scene he didn’t really fit in with. More than anything his output has always seemed indebted to the free spirit of beats (as in that wholly insufficient catch-all term for the likes of Flying Lotus and Prefuse 73), as hip hop-mannered sampling collides with contemporary club dynamics across all kinds of tempos. There’s no denying that the UK hardcore heritage comes to bear in many places too, and now this latest offering for his more recent home of Ninja Tune makes some sizable nods to the past.
US beat alchemist FaltyDL, aka Drew Lustman, will return to Ninja Tune with a two track EP entitled Hardcourage.
It’s difficult to gauge which label FaltyDL’s music is most suited to; he’s graced Planet Mu with two albums and a sprinkle of EPs, and his productions seem equally at home on zeitgeist obsessives 50Weapons, Amsterdam’s house and techno bastion Rush Hour and evergreen UK beats institution Ninja Tune. The fact is his music – a cluttered, intoxicating blend of garage, house, jungle, hip-hop and afrobeat – is suited to all of the aforementioned imprints, yet the most thrilling FaltyDL 12” to date, for this writer at least, was Mean Streets Pt. 1, released via Swamp81 last year. There are a few reasons for this: it was a vinyl-only affair and limited to 500 pressings. The full picture sleeve offered a glimpse of contemporary Brooklyn life, with visual artist and long term Swamp affiliate Ashes57 on hand to take a classy black and white photo. The music itself was bliss, particularly the ephemeral future soul jam “Moonshine”.
This year we decided to expand our best tracks of the year list from 50 to an admittedly bulging 100. The simple fact is, listening to records as we do, day in, day out, we hear a lot of good music. Some great music, in fact, and in our top 100 we have specified exactly what drew us to each title – was it the quirky B-Side, the anthemic opener or, as with our number one selection, the entire EP? Read on to find out…
To celebrate Christmas 2011, the Juno Plus editorial staff have been entrusted with curating a festive release; a little present from all of us at Juno HQ, if you will.
FaltyDL has long been something of a musical alchemist; the New Yorker’s wriggling, mutating sonic experiments are borne from whatever the studio equivalent is to hunching over a row of bubbling test tubes in a laboratory, carefully seeking out the right measurements to discover that elusive elixir of life. Contained within those test tubes is a milieu of musical elements – a forgotten jungle break, a vocal from an 80s house classic, or an obscure slice of afrobeat – which are then combined with certain trademark touches (slashing, frantic hats) and constantly evolving rhythms.
These experiments becoming increasingly deft, and the Atlantis EP arrives on venerable UK imprint Ninja Tune with arguably the most accomplished FaltyDL productions to date. The producer’s relationship with some of electronic music’s most respected labels – Planet Mu, 50 Weapons, Rush Hour, Swamp 81 – has seem some fascinating results, especially in 2011, but even so this serves as a landmark release.
As with most recent FaltyDL 12”s the artwork is striking, and, like his Mean Streets release for Swamp 81, the vinyl weighs in at a reassuringly heavy 180g. The title track is a melodic, smudged out deep house roller, with a bassline that evokes memories of LCD Soundsystems’ “Tribulations” dovetailing snugly with twangy plucked instrumentation. As one expects from a FaltyDL production, there are frequent rhythmic shifts, changes in direction and any number of seemingly disparate samples, mashed together into one engaging whole.
“Can’t Stop The Prophet” is more adventurous still, with crackly atmospherics, toyed-with vocals and sumptuous strings giving off a languid, relaxed air – that is until the frenetic jungle breakdown arrives – perhaps a nod to his earliest forays into production. There’s even a cheeky moment at the end where the source material for the primary samples is briefly, tantalisingly, revealed – a trick that he has used on recent outings for All City and Swamp 81. The flipside houses two more richly detailed productions, with the hip-hop-esque swagger of “My Light My Love” an exercise in the art of filtering. The clattering hats and softly throbbing deep house chords of “The Sale Ends” save perhaps the most emotive, introspective moment of the EP for last, leaving an unmistakable sense that, once again, this musical alchemist has got his measurements just right.
Irish imprint All City, based out of a record shop located in Dublin’s Temple Bar, has blossomed in recent times thanks to the excellent Los Angeles split 10″ series and an artist roster that includes Onra, Mike Slott, Tessela, Martyn, and, now, New York beatsmith FaltyDL. Ostensibly these represent Falty’s two housiest cuts to date – hardly surprising considering the source material – yet they are rooted in a collage sampling style that betrays the producer’s reverence for vintage hip-hop.
A-Side missive “Make It Difficult” essentially serves as a reinvention of a late 90s house gem by Shena. The vocals and chords from that ‘97 version are appropriated and given the full Falty treatment – hi-hats that relentlessly slap you around the face from every which way, an excellent bassline that was lacking from the original and deliciously swung drums. There’s also the male vocal intoning the track’s title, which contrasts nicely with Shena’s dulcet tones. It sits somewhere in between Bakey USTL’s “A Tender Place” and Blawan’s “Getting Me Down”, with skilfully arranged samples doused in a producer’s idiosyncratic style – the result being a track that sounds warm and familiar yet very much of the now.
Flip over for “Jack Your Job”, with more frenetic drum programming and call and response vocal snippets making for a next level mutant house jam (this time Romanthony is the most obvious sample source to these ears). The main vocal imploring us to get “control over your job” is backed by a wailing female backing and a seemingly endless procession of deft sonic touches – handclaps, more idiosyncratic hi-hats, flute – all layered on top of each other in a manner that brings to mind classic hip-hop layered sampling (think Paul’s Boutique and 3 Feet High and Rising) being adopted to a house template with breezy aplomb.
Perhaps the thing to admire most about FaltyDL’s music is the sense of surprise that accompanies each release. Despite his finely crafted signature style, you can never be quite sure what you’re gonna get with a Falty production. This is partly due to the use of intriguing samples – listen carefully and you’ll hear everything from old funk to 90s house snippets chopped up – as well as the producer’s passion for a plethora of musical styles. There’s also his location; based in Brooklyn, New York, he has an entirely different perspective on the many strands of UK dance music that inform much of his work.
His sophomore album, You Stand Uncertain, touched on everything from afrobeat to 2-step and garage via dubstep and old fashioned rave, while his recent single for Irish imprint All City reinvented a late 90s house jam from Shena with the help of crazed overlapping drums and a sparkling bassline. Prior to that was one of our favourite 12″s of 2011 – the Mean Streets EP for Swamp 81 – in which the New Yorker laughed in the face of genre obsessives who throw around the post-whatever phrase all too easily.
This followed a particularly impressive 2010 with killer drops on Rush Hour – the back scratching Cosmin TRG split release in particular – and Planet Mu, the label that has released both of his albums to date, along with a slew of remixes which further established him as one of this generation’s most distinctive and forward-thinking talents. Juno Plus scribe Helen Luu caught up with the producer (real name Drew Lustman) to discuss early plans for his third album, his dream of discovering a vocalist in Brooklyn and how 14 hour shifts as a sushi chef instilled some much needed discipline.
The MUTEK festival is a finely tuned, absorbing experience that the initiated wait for all year long. One just doesn’t simply ‘attend’ MUTEK, one becomes MUTEK. The communal vibe and carefully curated showcase were on display again this year as 95 per cent of the acts played live. The North American premiere of Amon Tobin’s larger than life ISAM project, Plastikman’s astounding live show and Elektro Guzzi’s bass/drums/guitar brand of techno were just some of the many highlights experienced during MUTEK’s crazed 12th edition. We sent Juno Plus contributors Steve Phillips and Helen Luu along to witness the action.