Artist: The Gaslamp Killer
Producer: Filip Čermák
The Creative Spark: Beeple, Everyday Artist | by Michael Winkelmann
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1. IAMSYS (Tape Intro)
In a world in which upstart DiY talent is flooding the gates of electronic music, a few recent voices have been so strong as to be startling. Lapalux – AKA 25-year-old Stuart Howard – is certainly one such. As singular as a brilliant artist always should be, his instinctive understanding of the atmospheric power of texture grips the ear immediately on listening. Nostalchic is his debut album, mission statement, and the climax of many years of studying his craft. The amalgam of words that make the title is aptly, and perhaps knowingly chosen. The album evokes nostalgia without ever sounding nostalgic, and Howard may have had his tongue in his chic when he added the second half of the title. The album is his most focused document to date, adding his beloved R&B and soul into elements of house and hip hop, all with the trademark Lapalux finish; infectious, lopsided swing and achingly deep texture.
Lapalux was raised in rural Essex, midway between countryside and town; the classic, isolated hinterland that’s produced many a distinctive British voice. There’s a yearning sense to the record that it’s tempting to relate to the young Howard’s dreams about what his eventual escape into larger life might be. He certainly had a dream start when a shot-in-the-dark email to electronic hothouse Brainfeeder was immediately answered by label head Flying Lotus himself, who quickly moved on to sign him. To this day, Lapalux remains the only British artist on the Los Angeles based label.
Having made fans out of Diplo and SBTRKT, remixed everyone from Lianne La Havas via Crystal Fighters to Bonobo, Tawiah, AlunaGeorge and Speech Debelle, as well as supporting FlyLo and playing the main stage at Sonar and in Japan with Clark, it’s prime time for Lapalux’s debut full length. Happily, it was well worth the wait.
As declared by opener ‘Tape Intro,’ Lapalux is a keen experimenter with tape; looping and layering sounds via the warm-feeling format provides textures that are haunting, beautiful, fragile, and somehow familiar and alien all at once. These experiments are both purposeful and successful, and their result is dizzyingly good. Add to this his gift for treating a vocal, and the effect is profound.
If many producers use the electronic staples – glitches, fragments and unfamiliar swing – few know how to use them with such intent as Lapalux. Howard adopts these devices only to enhance the emotional force of his music, never simply for their own sake. On single ‘Without You,’ (which features the brilliant Kerry Leatham,) the rainy-day, heartbreaking blues is made all the more powerful by the slowed-and-sped vocal. Sung straight, it wouldn’t have had the sense of shattered, conflicting emotion that it does. This is electronic music at its finest: affecting and haunting in a way no other ‘genre’ can be.
’Straight Over my Head’ illustrates Howard’s ability to write a brilliant song. From its tentative, melancholic start, a bassline opens up like a sudden, breathtaking vista, the song abruptly driving forward and taking the listener helplessly with it. On ‘The Dead Sea,’ a squall of jazz trumpets plays over urgent percussion, swirling bass and vocal-like textures to heady effect.
Nostalchic not only has all the hallmarks of a great album – a sense of cohesive purpose, its own themes, arcs and internal logic – it’s an album that could only have been made in electronic music. Howard understands the power and capabilities that are offered by his form, and he’s used them to the full.
Jeremiah Jae – “Cable” official music video.
Directed by Justin Staple (VICE)
From the album “Raw Money Raps”
Premier via Noisey
DOWNLOAD ‘WITHOUT YOU’ ON ITUNES – http://glnk.it/1zn
Taken from Lapalux’s debut album ‘Nostalchic’ – released 26 March worldwide on Brainfeeder.
Vinyl / CD / Digital:
Directed by Nick Ray Rutter in collaboration with Lapalux
Starring: Natalia Tena
1st AD: Dean Noutsos
Production Company: Sonny
Props Maker: Brian Archer
Focus Puller: Ahmet Husseyin
Gaffer: Nathan Porter
Costume Designer: Rebecca Hale
Editor: Patric Ryan @ Marshall Street
Label /Commissioner: Maddy Salvage @ Ninja Tune / Brainfeeder
Thanks to Movietech, Panalux, the Liberal Club, Phoebe Mitchell, Matt Chlebek and Myles Mears.
1. Without You (Radio Edit)
Without You is the standout single from Lapalux’s highly anticipated debut album, Nostalchic. Featuring the brilliant, breathtaking vocals of Kerry Leatham, it’s the perfect distillation of one of electronic music’s most startling new talents.
If many producers use the electronic staples – glitches, fragments and unfamiliar swing – few know how to use them with such intent as Lapalux. Stuart Howard adopts these devices only to enhance the emotional force of his music, never simply for their own sake.
’Without You,’ is a rainy-day, heartbreaking blues made all the more powerful by the slowed-and-sped vocal. Sung straight, it wouldn’t have had the sense of shattered, conflicting emotion that it does. This is electronic music at its finest: affecting and haunting in a way no other ‘genre’ can be.
Added to the package are two bonus tracks. ‘Swallowing Smoke’ is exclusive to the single, and sees Lapalux explore haunting textures that give way to a yearning, multi-layered melodic romp. Album track ‘Guuurl’ features a rich, addictive synth-line and further demonstrates the thrilling results of Howard’s experimental approach to vocals.
Miguel Baptista Benedict
Citing Brion Gysin as an inspiration, 25-year-old Miguel Baptista Benedict puts a spin on the Dadaist cut-up technique throughout the audio (and title) of his debut solo album. Super(b)-Child-Ran is due on Brainfeeder in early 2013. Far beyond the confines of genre, we simply label this “outsider music.”
To date, Benedict produced 25 albums between the years of 2008 and 2012. Super(b)-Child-Ran came into existence over the course of three years, a compilation of songs that Benedict and Flying Lotus picked across 6 solid albums created between ’08-’10. Initially reaching out to Lotus on a whim in ’08, two of the tracks – “Oil Free Acne Wash” and “Purge” – were amongst the first batch of tracks Benedict sent.
“All of these songs are from six different albums that I’d made previously. When Flying Lotus said he wanted to release an album, he insisted that we release some of the older material. The songs on Super(b)-Child-Ran were all recorded in a cornerstone period of my life, so the mood and style of the collection is relatively consistent. Whenever I record, I finish a large body of work pretty quickly because it’s all one idea that I’m trying to do multiple times with different tracks.”
Super(b)-Child-Ran is led by intuition; raw, abstract sound poetry as an expression of chaos and serenity. Entropy flows through distortion, filters, micro-cut effects and discordant melodies. A very minimal and modest studio (consisting of walkie talkies, old keyboards, guitars, loop pedals, even banging on tables) paves for his experimental and gritty sound, a sound he can truly call his own.
”I think “blink 192″ might be my favorite piece. You can hear some field recordings and “digital” recordings, but it’s hard to tell what’s bedding what. That’s why I like it. “Anxious/Upset” and “Akew” are from another album called Magnetic Oxygen, made in the winter of 2010. Those particular tracks were made almost exclusively with just my voice, one half of a high hat symbol and an acoustic guitar (for the percussion). After listening back to them again, I think there are a few bottles in the recordings too. They were both originally one track, and they were made when I was having a real tough time with my anxiety. “Stam’peed” and “ee-co.frendl-ee” – those two tracks are from an album called Blud Thinner(s). Every track title and word associated with that album was stripped down and destroyed, only existing phonetically which is what I was trying to do with the sound as well.”
There are moments of peace, such as the album’s opener “Phemy,” a daydreamy piano-led song that gives little warning of what’s to come. “Subordinate CEO” features Benedict’s own vocals, with a subtle dissonance tickling the subconscious, which leads nicely into the loose, languid guitars conversing on “Purge,” breeding a curious blend of carefree relaxation and high tension. As an overall body of work, Super(b)-Child-Ran is distorted, upsetting and conflicted at times, yet it remains calming and entrancing throughout.