Lustmore is a widescreen vision narrowed by delicate sonic focus that, unlike so much beat music, commands attention.
In a world of too-clean, mass appeal electronic music, Lustmore, the second album from Brainfeeder-signed producer Lapalux, is just blurry enough. Lapalux envisions no sound without a little dirt, no beat without an oblique stutter or two built in, and no melody without a twist of muddled effects. He creates restless, late night chillout music for loners, heady, layered sounds for IDM-heads and wistful fantasies for everyone else. His inconstant beats and perpetually shifting instrumental phrases keep the music spontaneous and involved but never disconnected. Vocal features only come in to play when they absolutely enhance the beauty of the track, but Lapalux is just as comfortable utilizing lush periods of near-silence for the benefit of the music. Lustmore, from beginning to end, is both loosely realized and ruggedly built from these elements, an outstanding example of the virtues of balance and restraint in the electronic genre.
On paper, it may not seem that way. Lapalux is a tinkerer: “Midnight Peelers” cuts between a staggering, low-key hip-hop beat with soulful vocal samples and a lo-fi house feel brought on by an arpeggiated synth bass; “Push N’ Spun”, with its hiccuping rhythms and lush atmospherics, resembles a Clams Casino beat in the process of melting; “Make Money” features a glitchy hip-hop beat not far removed from trap along with the gliding bass and mechanical bursts of noise characteristic of dubstep; “Autumn (Tape Interlude)” dabbles in incomprehensible vocoder phrases and vintage organ sounds. There are many disparate elements going into Lapalux’s music, each one somehow smokey and malleable enough to shape to his ethereal whims. Lustmore is a widescreen vision narrowed by delicate sonic focus, and as such, unlike so much beat music, it commands attention.
Even the tracks with guest vocalists remain mobile and transformative rather than beholden to pop structures. The Szjerdene-featured “Closure” wails with sharp, detuned string sounds, water drops and fuzzy, gliding synths, each providing most of the song’s movement in lieu of a more typical verse-chorus-verse construction. Kick drums weave in and out of the smooth soul beat of “Puzzle” while a soft saxophone lead trades verses with Andreya Triana’s wispy singing, all before Lapalux cuts everything up and layers it into a singular sound. “Don’t Mean a Thing” gets unbelievable mileage out of a short vocal sample through sparse usage and pitch modification, a clip that just as easily could have been co-opted to fit a colorless club track from one of the world’s leading DJs but instead subtly dips Lapalux’s eerie beat into further emotionality. Lustmore defies so many of electronic’s rigid conventions by being made of purely instinctual music, each component constantly adapting to small changes in rhythm and mood. The album lives and breathes like few do.
Sadly, Lapalux may never be embraced the way that the electronic pop ethos of Disclosure or the smooth elegance of Flume has been, but Lustmore is its own singular triumph. Dingy instrumental hip-hop, house and electro all have their own virtues, and most manifest themselves here. What few moments of meandering there are on Lustmore disappear in the fog of unique structures and novel instrumentation fairly quickly. It’s a counterpoint the the sterility and pomposity of modern club music, meant instead for the lonely individual. Let Lapalux keep you company.