FaltyDL: New York’s addition to the experimental dubstep massive rocks it quietly.
- Words: Rob Geary
- Photo: Ken Taylor
Persistence can be a good thing, as FaltyDL can tell you. Known off wax as Drew Lustman, FaltyDL's sound—which blends skittish but groove-tight 2-step beats, wobbly synth pads, and a strong sense of melody—harkens back to the moment when the IDM nerds raided jungle for ideas, but it also sports the clarity of modern production and a sharp knack for compositional space and atmospherics. A New Haven, Connecticut native, Lustman left the Elm City for New York and now burrows deep in the East Village, where he experiments restlessly, his sound scientist's ear always finding that particular wobble of a bassline, that perfect timbre of a vocal sample. “I rock it quietly,” as Lustman puts it, constantly tinkering in the glow of a new iMac.
If it weren't for that persistence, we wouldn't have Lustman's debut LP, Love is a Liability. The Planet Mu label's Mike Paradinas, whose work as µ-ziq is an obvious predecessor of FaltyDL, initially turned a deaf ear toward Lustman's first tracks. “I sent Mike loads of tracks a few years ago and he wasn't into them until I sent him 'Human Meadow,'" he recalls. “He said it was cool and we went forward. A single turned into an EP, which grew into an album, and so on and so forth.”
It's easy to see what grabbed Paradinas about “Human Meadow.” The track opens Love is a Liability with a squeaky, tinny beat pitched just north of jungle, until a classic U.K. garage-style bassline tromps in, propelling the track forward into matched male and female samples stitched together to complete the phrase “I want your love/Forever.” In another life, a few BPMs slower and with live singers, it could be a classic house track; amp up the noise and it would slot in right next to Aphex Twin's mid-'90s assault on drum and bass.
But if anything, “Human Meadow” is the iciest track here; “Dionysus,” “To New York,” and “Truth” add in knotty, wistful synths from Orbital’s e-fueled playbook, and straighter, mostly danceable beats (the vintage pin-ups on Love's striking cover art by AS1 could easily get down to this). That combination of easy appeal and brainy structures was hard-won, though, by Lustman's largely disowned attempts at straight-up jungle. “I think my sloppiness as a producer is still similar now to when I was making jungle,” he says. “The snare would land somewhere between the one and four [beats], and wherever it found itself was okay.” In the regulation drum and bass world, that wouldn't fly, but, he says, “in garage I found this shuffle that allowed me to continue that.”
FaltyDL's Bravery is out in October on Planet Mu.
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