Foundations: FaltyDL

Drew Lustman offers a cross-section of his musical core...

FaltyDL has also walked an individual path.

An electronic producer from New York whose work was informed by everything from early Planet Mu to UK Garage, Drew Lustman has proved to be a talent who is impossible to predict.

New album 'Heaven Is For Quitters' is one of his most daring tangents, yet also one of his most soothing. Drew explains that his new record is "at its core, about dealing with yourself, both the good and the bad. I share this album with the hope that it can be used by others as I have; a guide, a blanket, a reassurance that the path I have chosen is the right one."

He continues: "This album is for those who’ve chosen their own path and all of its uncertainty and end up finding themselves along the way. How the roller coaster of life sounds."

A remarkable fusion of personal themes and cutting edge aesthetics, 'Heaven Is For Quitters' is an entrancing work.

Suitably hypnotised, Clash invited FaltyDL to pick out some musical Foundations.

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Hannah Cohen – ‘Child Bride’

I was looking for a vocalist for 'Infinite Sustain'… well, an early version of that track. I approached some folks who ended up being busy or maybe just passed as often is the case. It’s helpful to develop a thick skin and get comfortable with the phrase “no”. In any event Hannah’s name got thrown into the mix and I immediately fell in love with this album. She has this ability to cut right through the song with her lyrics in a way that doesn’t feel contrived or vague but instead deadly on point. Very direct, but also poetry. Never over complicated, these are songs about love and loss. It became a sort of beacon for me along the way of finishing this album. The artwork, the videos – it all makes a complete picture. A rare beautiful fully formed debut.

We recorded vocals at my house, which I had little to no experience doing. It was a challenge and I wanted to impress her. We had a lot of fun I think and you can hear her laughing towards the end of the track in fact. I felt a bit out of depth the entire time and I truly believe that is when people make great things, when the water is just brushing over their mouth and face. Just remember to breathe.

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Brian Wilson – ‘SMiLE’ & ‘Surf’s Up'

The Beach Boys occupied about 30% of my listening habits over the two year period I wrote the album. There are drafts and drafts of songs that didn’t make the album cut included on 'SMiLE' but they all seem integral to the final sound. I have a folder of about 100 takes for 'Heaven Is For Quitters'. When an artist pulls back the curtain they take a massive risk and aren’t always rewarded for it. Brian Wilson clearly has been and rightfully so. When a finished product is super shiny I feel suspect. I almost don’t trust it. On one level I am jealous but on another I can’t relate to it. Doesn’t feel human. But that is the curse or payment due for being a musician. You have to listen to music differently then most.

'Surf’s Up' feels like the perfect companion album as we now know a little more about the back-story of what material was released and what wasn’t. But to hear the final two tracks in the frame of 'SMiLE' you just know how difficult it was for Brian to get his point across at the time. I have the highest level of respect for anyone who lets their pain show in their music. I think I achieve that but in truth I need at least one layer between myself and others at all times. It's an aim of mine to truly get honest one of these days…

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Squarepusher – ‘Ultravisitor’

I thought I knew Squarepusher then everything changed. That’s sort of the thing with his albums between 1995 and 2005. It’s hard not to feel completely humbled and in love with his productions especially when his best pitch is a curve ball. This album has moments of energy where you think 100% rave is achieved but he always holds back so the peak can sound like he’s giving 120%. It's an exercise in dynamics and I always feel like I am going to school when I listen to this album. I studied this shit religiously. But the stand out moment (besides rapping on '50 Cycles'!) is the melodic structure of the title track. It directly influences the first track 'Tasha' on 'Heaven Is For Quitters'.

The delicacy of his harmonics bring me to tears. It showed me a different side I was allowed to connect with. On the surface there is this great destruction, but underneath I’ve always wanted this idea of perfect chord progression. He taught me it’s OK to have both. Squarepusher has always had moments that make me feel so much love. I hear music for what it is with Squarepusher, I don’t dissect it like most music fortunately. He still remains a mystery.

I was lucky enough to meet and interview him last year after I wrote 'The Crystal Cowboy'. I still pinch myself and can’t believe we chatted for an hour.

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µ-Ziq – 'Lunatic Harness'

This album was my introduction to Mike’s music and remains my favourite of his. He has gone on to make great music since and doesn’t feel like he is anywhere near finished. I gravitate towards melodic electronic music where the play between chaos and beauty is original and powerful. It’s emo stuff, Mikes music. Which is fantastic as it encouraged me to not feel like I have to be tough all the time. We grow up being told what to sound like and how to act but a few break the mould and show us other possibilities.

'Brace Yourself Jason', the lead track, just sends me to a time that was particularly fertile in my progression as an artist. The mid 90’s were so fresh weren’t they? Gosh.

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Nuyorican Soul – 'Nuyorican Soul

Fabrica De Nueva York. These two. 'I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun' is one of my favourite songs of all time. It has everything. This is a perfect reflection of what New York really is, a home to one of the biggest and most vibrant Latin communities in the world. I am so lucky that I get to live in New York, and even more lucky it was only an hour and a half away growing up. Coming down in the 90’s was so fun, it felt fucking electric. It was a little scary coming from the suburbs but you could be whoever you wanted in the city. I had a lot of firsts in the city and this album reminds me of that because it draws upon all of their influences. And that’s what New York was and should be, although it doesn’t feel quite the same any more, does it? Don’t get me wrong, some of the best art in the world is still coming out of the city and it always will. In fact, if the rent keeps rising and pushing folks to the side they will only react with more art.

Anyways I hate straight 4X4 crap. Bust it up, shake it around and feel it. I'm writing this after yet another EU tour where techno is king and everyone is a zombie. I just can’t relate.

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'Heaven Is For Quitters' is out now.

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