As appears to be the case more and more in the current electronic climate, it is seen as a sign of versatility if maybe indecision for producers to dip their toes in more than one genre pond, be it across an album, EP or single track. While on one hand such shifting between tempos and styles can be viewed on some counts as a weakness, Falty DL a.k.a Drew Lustman changes gear in the name of sonic experimentation and with the intention of surprising his listeners.
To perfect such a feat, one must carry not just the ability and knowledge but the assurance, confidence and audacity to pull it off, something Lustman has in spades. His wholly unique US take on garage soon led to a deal with Planet Mu and since then, he has looked to expand and develop what is now a signature sound over two albums, an EP and three singles for the label. On this year’s LP ‘You Stand Uncertain’, he showcased a strong grasp of a range of rhythms and melodies, brewing together house, funky, dubstep and soulful garage, imbuing his work with a similarly spiritual aesthetic to that which was heard on Four Tet’s most recent album, ‘There Is Love In You’ and Isolee’s ‘Well Spent Youth’.
Lustman’s latest offering is the Atlantis EP, released via Ninja Tune. As if to emphasise his penchant for spreading himself across numerous fields, the cover artwork displays what can be best described as a wooden pole that, painted around it, are a gaudy assortment of patterns and bright colours that, while different in style and tone, merge together to form one cohesive whole. To say that the EP serves as a platform for its title track would be doing the subsequent three tracks a disservice, yet there is no getting away from the fact that ‘Atlantis’ is the standout track, one that is the most reliable yardstick for tracking Lustman’s progress and seeing where his eclectic experimentation has most recently taken him. Distinguished by a menacing, swinging beat and hissing hi hats, it is anchored by a moody low bass hit and balanced by a melancholic synthesized tune.
What this track carries in sheer weight and density, follow up ‘Can’t Stop the Prophet’ holds in originality. Beginning with sharp orchestral samples, the track gradually feeds into a harp-laden effervescent take on dreamy 180bpm drum’n’bass. Subsequent track ‘My Light, My Love’, is perhaps the most introspective and deepest moment on the EP. With a nuanced combination of sonic samples with shuffly jazz drums it is a complex mix that, while challenging and innovative, never seems too overblown or ungainly; a hallmark of Lustman’s production technique.
Finally, with ‘The Sale Ends’, Lustman returns to the syncopated percussion of UK garage, a frequent stop-off on his stylistic whistle stop tours. A smooth and elegant creation, it operates as a neat closing point for an EP whose influences and inflections can be traced, but with Lustman’s production dexterity, are turned into a whole different entity.