A rarity from the New York producer: a dance set that works as an album proper.
Matthew Bennett 2011-03-10
Ah, the modern dance album. Let’s face it: the format has lost its way since the heady days of The Orb and Underworld. Even The Chemical Brothers had a stab at installing an album architecture and variance that made sense to deluded ravers.
So, the trail for the Holy Grail of a perfect dance album has gone awry. With the current club scene possessing the attention span of a goldfish on ketamine, the search for this electronic elixir more often resembles El Dorado; the blundering pack of colonials lost in the jungle, eternally going round in circles.
Into this fray enters FaltyDL, standing with his second album cheekily in hand. You Stand Uncertain is a solid yet intricate wander through revived garage, house, rave and the ever-mutating, and increasingly ambiguous, dubstep niche.
Drew Lustman is clearly a UK garage renaissance man. This sound prevails in nearly every track. Brazil, featuring Lily MacKenzie, is a song so taut with sharp snares and hi-hats you’re surprised you can even hear this percussion. All his productions are elevated by a sublime rhythmic touch.
His sonic surfaces touch on various misty genres; but what makes this LP great is his tempo shifts, and that is perhaps due to geography. Based in New York, this revivalist is outside staring into an old UK sound. But he balances this Planet Mu release and expands its vision with more hip hop-inspired compositions.
Such moments are found on the track Eight Eighteen Ten, where turntable beat chemistry is deployed effectively. Then, It's All Good morphs from a smoky stroll into a sludgy warehouse hybrid that could easily be an old SL2 record from 92 played slow at 33rpm.
It’s a deft trick, and one perfected when the title-track kicks in straight after. It’s all clipped futuristic drums, warehouse rumble and the veiled ephemera of modern garage vocals – driven home so hard by scene lynchpin Burial – you feel like your listening has taken you to a distinctly fresh place.
You Stand Uncertain isn’t quite legendary, but it is exceptional in today’s hurried dance scene. You’d be hard pressed to find a better electronic album released recently that speaks so strongly to the future whilst nuzzling the neck of the past like a hungry lover.