Lapalux is Stuart Howard, an Essex, UK based bedroom producer, who currently releases music on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder record label. His most recent release, the Nostalchic LP, came out in March of 2013.
Lapalux’ earlier releases were marked by an earnest experimentalism with voices and field recordings, which he would edit and create loops with before committing them to cassette tapes or reel to reel, only to be edited or corrupted and then sampled back. His sonic approach marks him out as a contemporary of Flying Lotus and the cadre of L.A. producers making beat based, bass heavy experimental hip hop, but he distinguishes himself with a unique textural pallet all of his own.
My first overall impression of the Nostalchic LP was that Lapalux is a talent to be watched, but that he is a producer who has not hit his stride yet. The LP felt chaotic and unfocused, like an exercise in IDM editing and beat sketching.
Luckily, first impressions can be deceiving. On repeated listens (and I do mean repeated, the album has not left my playlist and seems set to remain there for some time) the depth of the subtle melodic lines and ambiance that play counterpoint to the jarring rhythms, come to the fore, revealing an ethereal subtlety, which at first seems elusive.
The opener “IAMSYS (Tape Intro)” is lush and cinematic; it harkens back to his earlier work splicing cassette tapes, and serves as a good starting point, by reminding one of the old while making it new. The next two songs “Guuurl” with its atonal, pitch shifted synth lines and “Kelly Brook” with its languid pace and a cacophony of samples seem startlingly out of place at the begininning of the album and are probably what led to my luke warm first impression.
The lead single “Without You” (with its deliciously twisted video) featuring vocal contribution from Kerry Latham is definitely the centrepiece of the album and is what drew me to believe that the album merited repeat listens. The rest of the LP progresses nicely, and Lapalux never hurries his production, leaving songs to unfold at paces which befit the haunting vocals that provide much of the emotive content of his work.
Lapalux’ deep, textured sounds gives his work a synthetic quality, whereby the listener can feel the detritus and grit of his fractured rhythms which lie below the lush shag carpeting of the melodic lines. Lapalux is not a producer who is still struggling to find his footing, he has hit his stride and I personally look forward to hearing what he has to offer when he hits Montreal September 13th at Le Belmont.
LAPALUX CANADIAN DATES
September 12 – Halifax, NS – Reflections Cabaret
September 13 – Montreal, QC – Le Belmont
September 24 – Vancouver, BC – Shine Nightclub
September 25 – Calgary, AB – The HiFi Club