FaltyDL is Drew Lustman from New York City by-way-of New Haven, CT. His pseudonym has been gaining steam in electronic music circles due in large part to his association with Thom Yorke and Radiohead. Lustman was invited to open for the iconic band at New York City’s Roseland Ballroom in 2012 but prior to this anointment he was an in-demand re-mixer for the xx, Scuba, Photek and many others. With the tastemakers listening closely, Lustman drops his first full length, Hardcourage on inimitable UK label Ninja Tune.
Unmistakably a labor of love, the album is distinctively diverse and percolating with creativity. By sonically alluding to a variety of genres including garage, micro-house and dub but playing none of them straight, Lustman uses abstraction and amalgamation to create originality. This is integrated electronic music, suggesting and incorporating works previous but chopping and changing them with precise and languid innovation.
“She Sleeps”, featuring Ed McFarlane of Friendly Fires on vocals is a hypnotic piece pulsing with chorale reverb. “Straight and Arrow” combines prog-y synth work, a highlight of many melodies, with a micro-house underbelly. The teamwork feels nimble and spongy, like musical calisthenics. “Uncea” follows “and builds upon this fusion sound while constantly mixing and matching the tension between rhythm and melody.
Similar to Kieran Hebden of Four Tet, the brilliance of Hardcourage lays in Lustman’s creation of a unified whole from all the disparate pieces. This is danceable yet heady music, jazzy yet down-to-earth. The creative process within the tracks seems to bubble over as Lustman’s history of playing in jazz-rock bands shines through. A distinctly conversational element is evident within the track structures, as if the sonic factions are lively playing off each other. “Bells” finishes the album with a mild mood shift into anthemic exploration. By venturing into major key territory FaltyDL closes his debut with a vast and wistful sense of sweetness, patiently building toward a whirling daydream.