The sound of New York producer FaltyDL (a.k.a. Andrew Lustman) has always been difficult to pin down. Over the course of the past few years, his sonic choices have come from a place of free-wheeling and good-natured appropriation; though his initial output was colored by IDM and he's often lumped in with the increasingly hard-to-define world of bass music, he uses his background as a filter to explore the far-flung and disparate corners of the dance music spectrum. Yet through it all, his personality has always come through in his melodic leanings. Lustman's music is often connected by his preference for enveloping, sometimes noodling, synthesizer playing. Last year, he released Hardcourage, an LP that created an accessible and stable point of entry that played down the more aggressive side of his output. However, nothing stays the same in Lustman's world for very long, and in the case of his latest 12", "Danger" b/w "King Brute (feat. Shanghai Den)," he's back at the task of reinventing himself.
This might not be so apparent at first. "Danger" returns to the sound of Hardcourage, with an opening that recalls the womb-like embrace of "Uncea." But the comparisons stop there. It's much more stripped down and minimal. The melodic riffing is toned down, and for the rest of the track's three-and-a-half minutes, FaltyDL gets aggressive, with a rhythmic move towards the anxious hyperactivity of breakbeat house and jungle. In the case of someone so chameleon-like, sometimes not every experiment works. However, Lustman pulls it off here, and that's mostly due to the simplicity of the track, which seems tuned for a certain kind of dancefloor efficiency. It's short, sweet, and its references hit in all the right places.
As good as "Danger" is, it's eclipsed by Lustman's collaboration with Shanghai Den on the b-side. "King Brute" is an aptly titled techno loop, and one that takes a reductionist approach to dance music. It's a dirty, lo-fi rhythm track, which plays hypnotically like a locked groove—tension and dynamics come only via delay and filter twisting. Compared to the a-side, and much of Lustman's recent work as FaltyDL, it feels fresh and concise (which is partially due to its two-and-a-half-minute runtime). More importantly, it offers a real break with his prior output and a further incorporation of the mechanical edge of techno. It's a new direction, and hopefully one he pursues further.