Falty DL is prolific to say the least. Over the past year, New Yorker Drew Lustman has mustered the 'Love Is A Liability' LP, 'Bravery' EP, 'All In The Place EP, and now the excellent 'Phreqaflex' EP. For me, Lustman has shown a great sign of improvement and growing maturity in his production style over the past 12 months, with 'Phreqaflex' being his best work yet after a week or so of listening consideration. The EP fully takes on a 90's influenced UK garage sound, yet Lustman still manages to maintain that unique sounds he brings to his work within each of these wonderful productions.
Just listening to the previews of the tracks before there actual release I was filled with excitement, with the short clips ensuring that these tracks would deliver a great future garage soundtrack. The EP revisits the past years of UK garage, taking clear influence from the darker garage which the likes of El-B, Groove Chronicles and Scott Garcia were producing in the mid-late 90's, and combines these sounds with a modern/future sound that Lustman marks his tracks with. Scott Garcia's seminal 'It's A London Thing' is particularly evident of the strong influences on Lustman's work, with the track's smooth grooves provided by a skittery beat and jazzy synths being emulated somewhat in the 'Phreqaflex' EP.
'Phreqaflex' is the opening track of the EP, and immediately makes an impression being the most upbeat and uptempo track on the EP. The track adopts the classic garage structure, taking a well produced shuffling beat, lovely chords which provide a nice harmony as well as a reverberating bass, which along with short jazzy instrumental interlude's have become signature's of Lustman's previous works as Falty DL. The track progresses well, building up tempo and more intricate elements as the track moves on. 'Because You' takes off from where the previous track left, adopting a similar form. The track contains a brilliant skittery drum beat, with a stop start melody provided by lighter chords. These chords however and well contrasted by the darker sounding synths and heavy bassline which add a different element of sound to the EP. The vocal samples used in the track also add another dimension to what is in my opinion the darkest track on the EP, and the one most in line with productions from the likes of El-B, Zed Bias et al.
Now to the final track of the EP, and undoubtedly my favourite (I've already decided it's in my top 3 tracks for 2010 to this point - that's how highly I rate it). There's something simpler and stripped back about this track that really catches my attention, as well as the pure emotion it evokes. The skittey shuffling drum beat is once again near perfect and the off-key chords combine to create a wonderful harmony, which along with the beautiful vocal samples brings something deeper and more emotive to the track. The clips of "If I should lose you,my friends will laugh and say" pull at the heart alongside the luscious chords, rendering this track perfect emotional music for the dancefloor. The track also features the common alien sounding synths which have become a common element of Mr. Lustman's work, which add's an element of future sound to a classic style.
The EP is excellent, and if this is the direction future garage is moving in, then we have quite a movement on our hands. With a few more releases, I really hope we'll see a resurgence of old school garage alongside the future cuts; it's a genre which is due a renewal on the scene. This EP has left me wanting more from Falty as well, and luckily we don't have too long to wait in anticipation. His next EP, 'Endeavour', will be released in September on the Planet Mu label, and will be an interpretation interpretation on house music from Lustman. If 'Endeavour' works anywhere near as well as 'Phreqaflex', then we really are in store for something special. You can preview/purchase 'Phreqaflex' on MP3 or 12" from either Boomkat, Juno or itunes. Enjoy.