Lapalux - When You're Gone Album Review
Pssst! Hey, you! Yes, you over there! I'm a bit psychic and I can read people's minds. Because of that I know that you were about to say something dork-ish like "Uh, I ain't never heard of no Brainfeeder label, stush". Now saying dumb-ass stuff like that is gonna make you look seriously butters in public, so I'm going to be the very good Samaritan here and give you the juice on it, ok?
Brainfeeder is the brain child of Cali-svengali Stephen Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, aka a dude so cool that he makes Proff Brian Cox look like Dappy. One of the creators of the cerebrum bustin' Low End Theory club nights in LA, after reinventing dance music - no, I ain't exaggerating - on his d'but release (Appropriately named Los Angeles), his label (That'll be Brainfeeder, bucko) is home to a roster of super cool virtual knob twiddlers and a partridge in a pear tree of freaky dancin' goodness. Everybody say Zeit! Geist!
Most of these dudes are SoCal types who probably dangle their toes in the surf whilst making up spizzy choons on their iPads, so it comes as a welcome surprise to find that Lapalux is in fact Stuart Holden, a twenty something guy from Essex who spends his spare time doing..photography. Since starting to make music at just twelve years ol, Stooey's been like, really serious about it since 2008, when he self-released his Forest EP, and more recently his "Many Faces Out of Focus" thing brought him to the attention of the BF crew and hey presto, here comes When You're Gone.
Given that your new workies are the likes of Tokimonsta and Gaslamp Killer it's pretty much a given that your game needs to be tip top, but we needn't have worried, our man over there from over here flies the beat science flag like it ain't no thing, especially on the highly delish Moments, on which through alchemy he reinvents r n'b. Or at least r n' b but not as we know it (Captain). Here the emphasis is on chattering cyber handclaps and deep, ambitiously programmed syncopation, whilst vox PY piles some sugar on us, a groove a bit like one which the cantina band in Star Wars would come up with if they'd been listening to too much Beyonce.
It's the kind of edgy makeover that the tired sanitised bump and no grind desperately needs, but our hero is off exploring in other territories straight away, not passing Go or collecting 200BPM. Yellow 90's filters some off-kilter vocoded slivers and a shiny, blissful set of melodies, sounding like Boards of Canada after a Snapple too many. Different again, the modular Construction Deconstruction is far more introverted and textural, heading deeper into a forest of sounds which do well not to ricochet off each other in a thousand directions.
It's the bold stroke of an artist warming to their task, and whilst closer Face Down, Eyes Shut is a flotation tank effect of deep calm, Gutter Glitter nails the re imagined future funk of Rusko/Hudson Mohawke with gas to spare, the kind of thing that you imagine FlyLo himself nodding his head appreciatively to whilst dreaming up some new kind of head warping precept like a tech-tune magus. Stuart Holden may not have the kind of handle which makes you think he's the next bleep messiah, but he's definitely one for your Playlists. And next time somebody asks you what you think about Brainfeeder, you just say sick, right? Laters.