Review Summary: You Stand Uncertain earns comparisons to the work of Burial. These comparisons are fair.
Drew Lustman is another upcoming producer from New York’s increasingly intriguing current crop. Known as FaltyDL he has already released multiple EPs and his previous LP, Love is a Liability, was characteristic of his sound so far – dubstep with a soul. As is typical of many of the European and New York scenes, FaltyDL has been able to gain an outsider perspective of the dubstep craze and this has allowed him to gain a more realistic of dubstep’s strengths and weaknesses than those in the midst of the UK scene. UK dubstep has become so characterised by big dance anthems and the notorious wobble that much that is produced in the island of its origination is tedious and often ridiculous. While there is plenty that is good about the UK dubstep scene – the great variety of styles and the wobble when used well – there is a greater need to filter out the garbage than in New York or Holland. FaltyDL’s style contains the late-night feel that the New York scene – with the likes of Nicolas Jaar and Flying Lotus – is so apt at creating. At the same time it fuses this with deep house and early naughties UK garage to create the sound that is also being popularised by Pariah and Mount Kimbie. The greatest compliment that can be made to FaltyDL’s You Stand Uncertain is that it combines some aspects from all of these contemporaries while also evoking memories of Burial. This album can be seen as Burial with a funky, garage edge.
This funky edge can be seen on ‘Open Space’ with its injections of Latin jazz, mixed with icy glockenspiels and sliding guitars. That this then leads onto the steel pipes on ‘Brazil’ with the clipped vocal samples (very garage) and Lily McKenzie’s r’n’b sounding melodies shows that the album develops unrestricted by the boundaries of genre. Then with ‘Eight Eighteen Ten’ you get a funky muted bass line under the heavily reverbed wah wah vocal samples. It is an album that is always playing with different combinations of sounds but the deep thud of the bass that underlies the entire album is what gives it its late night appeal. This is especially the case on chilling songs like ‘You Stand Uncertain’ where the night seems to wave in and out with you along with its reverbed samples, and ‘The Pacifist’ with its icy tones fused with African sounding drums and the bass whirring beneath it.
The best songs on the album are ‘It’s All Good’ and the closing song, ‘Waited Patiently’. With both he plays with jazz piano samples, distorting them and merging them with the dubstep bass. The latter in particular is a stunning song. Piano samples playing with an electro craze before the warming bass gives the song a swarming glow, as the brass samples begin to resonate to gentle strings. The song shows FaltyDL at his best, merging genres and playing with samples to create a catchy yet undyingly beautiful song that never fails to slow your pulse and envelop you with its unerringly cool sound.
You Stand Uncertain sees FaltyDL, as ever being playful with his music, peppering jazz and funk over his at times gloomy dubstep and garage bases in order to make an album of thoroughly engaging songs. The album marks a significant difference between dubstep in the UK and elsewhere. Whereas so much of UK dubstep can often be seen as a game of making a song more ridiculous and catchy than the last, in the New York scene especially, there is an attempt to use dubstep as a way of merging various genres like jazz with garage with some African beats and a glockenspiel. In doing this FaltyDL creates an album that evokes the best, rather than the worst, of British dubstep. It is an album that works coherently and yet is always playing with us which is why it earns him comparisons to the UK producer who has given dubstep its greatest album so far, Burial.