Lapalux Lustmore

[Brainfeeder; 2015]

Styles: electronica, dance, hypna-melancholic pop
Others: Flying Lotus, matthewdavid, Daedelus, Prefuse 73, Ikonika, Andreya Triana

Unpacking Lustmore’s One-Sheet

Brainfeeder: Lapalux knew where and how his sound should change with a second album. As a result, Lustmore feels like a record as compulsively inspired and meticulously crafted as you’re likely to hear in 2015.

Tiny Mix Tapes: Lapalux recognized that his first album, 2013’s Nostalchic, wasn’t that much cop. As a result, Lustmore feels like a record compulsively inspired by — and meticulously crafted to pander to — those who weren’t especially impressed by its predecessor.

Brainfeeder: Lustmore is loosely based on the experience of hypnogogia, a transitional state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. Listeners familiar with his 2011 [sic] debut, Nostalchic, will know that Stuart Howard’s woozy, infectious rhythms, enveloping textures and unfamiliarly familiar melodies conjure that territory perfectly.

Tiny Mix Tapes: Lustmore’s creator and label request that you supplement its psychedelic/dream electronica with your (secondhand) concept of hypnagogia, tacitly admitting that the music is neither rich enough to elicit such a concept by itself nor interesting enough to gratify you without any accompanying narrative. If you are familiar with his debut though, you will know that Stuart Howard’s flickering rhythms, miasmal textures and oblique melodies could also conjure any number of other states (melancholy, uncertainty, paranoid schizophrenia, confusion, partial blindness, intoxication, stupidity) and could even imply that our waking states are always already dreamlike and illusory.

Brainfeeder: Lapalux attracted the direct attention of Brainfeeder label owner and electronic music icon Flying Lotus in 2010, and was quickly snapped up by the imprint. Acclaimed early EPs were followed by a number of remixes including Bonobo, Andreya Triana, Lianne La Havas amongst others, before his debut album Nostalchic arrived in 2011 [sic].

Tiny Mix Tapes: Flying Lotus heard Lapalux’s music in 2010. EPs that received a 7.4 from Pitchfork were followed by a number of remixes, which is kind of appropriate considering how Nostalchic’s skewy dance-jazz-hip-hop amalgamations themselves almost verged on being remixes of other Brainfeeder artists.

Brainfeeder: On its release Mojo asserted that: “Lapalux has joined the ranks of contemporary electronica’s finest, like FlyLo himself.” The album was a high watermark, and a statement of intent by a young producer who was pushing electronic music forward.

Tiny Mix Tapes: As part of the marketing machine that hawked Nostalchic, Mojo asserted that: “Lapalux sounds just like those other musicians you like!” The album is currently ranked #169,150 on Amazon and apparently had little value other than as an indication of the records that would supersede it.

Brainfeeder: Lustmore sees the young producer take another stride forward. Opener “U Never Know,” which features another masterful vocal turn by Andreya Triana, sets the tone for the album. “The line ‘I don’t think you’ll know’ describes the mysterious limbo like state between waking life and sleep,” Howard says.

Tiny Mix Tapes: Lustmore sees the 27-year-old producer release another album. Opener “U Never Know,” which features a flawless yet generic dance-diva vocal from yet another London singer-songwriter, has its template regurgitated throughout the rest of the album. The line “I don’t think you’ll ever know” actually omits the qualifier “until you’re awake again and all your conscious faculties are fully functioning,” a more sober and less melodramatic Howard would say.

Brainfeeder: The sleazy, yearning throb of “Puzzle (ft. Andreya Triana)” is unmistakably sexualised.

Tiny Mix Tapes: Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Or again, sometimes the breezy melancholia of “Puzzle (ft. Andreya Triana)” is just the breezy melancholia of “Puzzle (ft. Andreya Triana)” and is only as sexualized as, say, a heartbroken widow(er). Indeed, its blurry keys and languorous horns are melancholic precisely because their sexuality has been disrupted.

Brainfeeder: “It’s a lovelessness,” Howard says, “searching for something more lustful and fleeting. It’s a very visual song for me. It’s about a sort of seedy, underground desire, like an old bar that used to have class, getting slowly seedier, to keep up with the demand for exploitation and filth. I think it sums up the whole feel and mood of the record,” Howard says.

Tiny Mix Tapes: “It’s a lovelessness,” Mr P says, “searching for a vehicle of expression that’s more lustful and fleeting than some tokenistic dial-a-saxophone, healing-crystal synths and ersatz vinyl-crackle. For me, it’s a song that asks us to project visuals onto it in order to make it more stimulating. It’s about a sort of tamed, stereotyped desire, like an old cliché that used to have class, getting slowly narrower and more codified, to keep up with the demand for sentiments and emotions that can be easily controlled and commodified. I think it sums up the whole feel and mood of the record,” Mr P says.

Brainfeeder: “That kind of sultry, seedy undertone and the pieces of the puzzle not fitting together properly, as if in a state of limbo where you don’t know where you are, but there’s something strangely comforting about it.” Those words could well be a credo for Lapalux’s wider musical vision.

Tiny Mix Tapes: “That kind of soggy, syrupy undertone and the pieces of the puzzle not fitting together into something that was worth all the initial concern and effort, as if in a state of limbo that isn’t on the map yet, but will actually never be on the map because it’s location is more about personal autonomy and choice than centralized dictation.” These words could very well undermine the themes and concepts underlying Lapalux’s wider musical vision.

Brainfeeder: The sound palette used in making the album was carefully crafted to sound retro futuristic and otherworldly, having sounds in there that would accompany a Bladerunner, or 2001: A Space Odyssey. “Whenever I think about the album I think about the bar scene in The Shining,” Howard says. “There’s something about that strange, hallucinatory psychological madness that relates to the music, both in the making of the actual record and the way it sounds.”

Tiny Mix Tapes: The album uses a sound palette that, like a replicant from Bladerunner, was carefully crafted to replicate popular “retro-futuristic” and “otherworldly” tropes, thereby taking advantage of the preexisting common stock of connotations and resonances attaching to them. “Whenever I think about the album, I focus more on a bar scene from a decades-old film than on the album itself,” Howard says. “There’s something about the album’s quotation and evocation of hallucinatory psychological madness that serves to disguise the relative ordinariness of the music, both in the making of the actual record and the way it sounds.”

Brainfeeder: Studying old film soundtracks was a hugely important process for the making of the album. “I really focused on making this album an imaginary visual experience. You can almost see these imaginary movies play in your head when you listen,” he says.

Tiny Mix Tapes: Getting stoned and watching old movies was a hugely important process for the album’s making. “I kinda neglected the aural aspect of this album. And to have movies playing in your head, I had to use sounds that you already associated with particular kinds of scenes, motifs and characters, sounds that were therefore already verging on the commonplace and the trite.”

Brainfeeder: “That’s something that I really started to work into my music — the idea of creating imagery and characters, storyline, and emotion.” It’s a process that has certainly worked: Lustmore is imbued with an emotional narrative that never loosens its grip on the ear.

Tiny Mix Tapes: “I hadn’t realized before that music can create imagery, characters, stories, and emotions, so I’m still not as proficient as I could yet be at converting the hypothetical idea of evoking these things via music into the actual evocation of these things.” That said, you needn’t doubt Brainfeeder when they say this process has certainly worked for Lapalux, and in fact, since it has certainly worked, there’s little use in you actually investigating Lustmore’s watery vibes to listen and decide for yourself. They (and we) have done it all for you.

Links: Lapalux - Brainfeeder

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