Electronic music, as a whole, is a genre that is constantly struggling with its own potential. A near-endless array of samples, sounds, synthesizers and possibilities make this genre as varied and difficult to navigate as the widest ocean. New York-based producer Drew Lustman, known to the industry as FaltyDL, is tackling this problem in an interesting way.
Hardcourage, the latest FaltyDL release, is triumph and downfall in one package. Lustman never restricts himself to a single genre, preferring to change his tone between tracks and bounce from dreamy Euro-inspired trance to classic hip-hop anthems, hitting every stop along the way. Shining house inspirations are clearly visible on tracks like “Straight & Arrow,” a tight song that sounds like it could have been pulled from Thomas Bangalter’s earlier work. Moments later, on “For Karme,” Lustman rolls down into dubstep territory. Other tracks sound like they’ve been pulled from the soundtracks of your favorite Super Nintendo games.
It’s clear from the start that the backbone of FaltyDL’s musical aesthetic is production. Lustman is a producer by trade, and his music shows all the familiar symptoms of such a background–namely, it is perfectly crafted. Every sound is carefully selected. Every beat is deliberately arranged. Everything is in its right place. Every track crafts lush melodic structures out of simple chord progressions.
The problem with an album like this is ultimately that it is too perfect. Because every aspect of it is so meticulously planned and arranged, it lacks the spontaneity that makes music fun and dynamic. Hardcourage reaches its shining moment on “Kenny Rolls One,” a meandering track that blends funky old school synthesizers and modern break beats into a melting pot that produces something close to jazz fusion having a heart attack. The liveliness and spirit of this track, however, unfortunately don’t permeate the album as a whole. The majority of the tracks contained here are just a bit too medium to be outstanding.
Hardcourage is a record that shines and dulls itself at the same time. FaltyDL is making use of the infinite resources available to electronic musicians by crafting a record of smooth production and fresh variety, but his latest album is plagued by perfection. The problem with perfection is that it’s beautiful, but it’s not always exciting.