Review Summary: Drew Lustman squeezes out one more triumphant burst of NYC deep bass release before the year finally dies out
Whether he’s operating as one of only a few true American garage counterpoints, flirting with the iconoclastic reverberations of techno, or locking himself into deep house hypnosis, Drew Lustman (FaltyDL) enjoys rebelling against the obvious expectations that come with each of those movements. He represents a far sunnier disposition that shines in stark contrast to the torch-bearing isolation that all leftfield electronic music has ultimately turned into. His beats are breezy, yet still packed with the required gut-punching bass to turn any barren warehouse into a disco frenzy of stadium-sized proportions. And he manages to exist within both realms of the current zeitgeist of “bass music”, adept at both the liquid-like bubbling funk and the bruising breakbeat hurricanes.
Whereas his acclaimed You Stand Uncertain
served as more of an extension of his melodic tendencies, Atlantis
(his first release for Ninja Tune) is a lofty and ambitious testament to his diversity. It begins fashionably enough with the New Yorker’s delicate take on UK garage with the damaging title track; hi-hats hiss and spurt over dramatically reduced breakbeats that silently ring out with a strong case of raver’s lament. It’s a moody set piece that swings back and forth from the commonplace garage percussion and deep house innuendo, swapping anthem-ready tapestries for more conspiratorial dreamscapes. ‘Can’t Stop the Prophet’ is deliberately awkward however, shifting from humble orchestral beginnings into raucous 80’s hip hop territory before kicking into violent drum & bass rumble that rallies against one of the most inspired sampling in recent years.
The final two entries are more diffident garage tricks, doe-eyed worship set-ups than distant relations. Constantly shuffling and restless they scratch close to the bone of flexing 808, trading the floating hi-hat syndromes for blanketing grungy basslines until they almost get by as underground London anthems, just shot through the lens of a NYC drifter. It shows that Lustman isn’t one to let the well run dry, and an artist comfortable at shifting gears on a dime. Shades of You Stand Uncertain
’s rave nostalgia find themselves briefly illuminated here, but for the most part Atlantis
is a new path for Falty; it’s less rough and tumble hooks and sharp-toothed beats, and more loose and undefined blue-sky daydreaming (which has always been a specialty of sorts for Lustman). It’s another reliable release from one of the most reliable American dance proponents, always happy to provide a little ambition against the bass compressions and juggernaut delusions the area has sadly become known for.