A genuinely brilliant EP, but its maker is still to reveal his full potential.
Ele Beattie 2012-03-14
To cite the vajazzle as Essex's most innovative of recent exports would overlook the wonderfully weird work of Stuart Howard's project, Lapalux. After a cassette release on the small and crucial label Pictures Music and remix requests from Bonobo and Totally Extinct Enormous Dinosaurs, it didn't take long for Brainfeeder fat cat Flying Lotus to recruit him and his twisted, but on-point, pop melodies. With Gaslamp Killer, Thundercat and Teebs already purveyors of the label's signature screwball sound, Lapalux seems a natural addition.
Pulled along by a solemn undercurrent of swampy beats, When You're Gone is uplifted by a quasi-chaotic mix of comfortingly familiar field recordings and their polemic sparkle of synthetic bleeps. Centrifugal track Gutter Glitter does this expertly, and it's a tone which is achieved throughout, shaping this EP into the most-tender of 21st century lullabies. Yellow 90's and Gone harness a rose-tinted retroism around a core of future pop – discordant melodies are turned inside out and wrapped up in their analogue entrails. The sentiment of "it never made sense to me" sung out on Construction Deconstruction suggests Lapalux is rewriting pop's conventions into this avant-garde manifesto.
The smoggy hews of the longing jazzy collaboration with Py, Moments, has her vocals craving a way to immortalise a feeling: "I keep moments of you trapped in a film." In a fast-moving world, overloaded with stimuli, brains all operating like eight-tabbed web browsers, trapping these transient moments is evermore fleeting; yet Howard's multi-layered approach to sound creates a dimension where a complex emotion is caught in only a few minutes. This maximalist approach could overwhelm, but his telescopic attention to the most intricate of melodies constructed of raw human whistles, synths and rainfall makes this an awesome release which is perpetually unveiling itself. The same could be said for Lapalux's production ability; this is a brilliant EP, but he's still to reveal his full potential.