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  • Filed under: Review
  • 11/14/2012

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FaltyDL "Straight & Arrow"

The video for "Straight & Arrow," the latest single from FaltyDL (a.k.a. Drew Lustman), provides a visual representation of one of the song's most enticing aspects. The clip is uncomplicated, simply displaying hands and arms, albeit with earbud-like wires plugged in like IVs, twitching in time to the tune's shuffling percussion and hooting melody. It's a clean and straightforward piece, much like the song itself, which doesn't overwhelm with sonic clutter; rather, it lets a horn-like synth and slightly warped vocal samples do most of the talking, making the track seem effortless and inviting. And yet, for all the video's simplicity, the fluttering fingers reveal the song's intricacy. The hands curl in time with its sonic minutiae—a fleeting drum diddle, quick snaps, a fluctuation in the bass tone—and suddenly, "Straight & Arrow" seems more like a symphony of tiny elements working together to create a seamless, unembellished whole.

But what makes "Straight & Arrow" exceptional is that it works as the centerpiece of an EP. Lustman enlisted stalwart electronic composer Four Tet, vogue-minded producers MikeQ and Divoli S'vere, and bedroom beatmaker Gold Panda to helm remixes of the single. Together, the four versions of "Straight & Arrow" make for a surprisingly engaging listen, as the common elements between the different takes, most notably the soulful vocal croons and wails, provide a thematic throughline, while the remixes themselves present diverse moods and styles.

Four Tet's remix smooths out some components, combing the song's main synth melody into a more watery form, but the UK veteran also makes the low end chunkier and grittier. The second half of Four Tet's contribution clomps where the original shimmies, paving the way for MikeQ's and Divoli S'vere's mangled and disjointed take on the song. Theirs is the most distinctive remix, as it strays from the jazzy fluidity of the other versions in favor of brash drum hits and sounds that pop out of rumbling percussion. Taking a different approach, Gold Panda re-envisions "Straight & Arrow" as a lullaby-like roller. The diva wail on the original becomes a Thom Yorke-like squall, while sleepy synths bubble between clipped beats and twinkling keys. It's a nice follow-up to MikeQ's and Divoli S'vere's bold take on the track, as if the dust kicked up by their huge drum strokes is settling back into the same kind of comforting, hypnotizing beauty found on the original tune.

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