Published Apr 10, 2015Since being picked up by Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder imprint in 2010, Lapalux (a.k.a. Stuart Howard) has gone from strength to strength. First he released two ultra-stylish EPs, Some Other Time and When You're Gone, then his debut LP Nostalchic, a record that solidified his lush, retro-futuristic sound. Two years on, the British producer has returned with Lustmore, an album that retains Lapalux's previously established traits — infectious rhythms, nostalgic yet completely unfamiliar melodies, those oh-so-sensual textures — while also offering something new entirely: a narrative.
It may be strange to think of an album that's mostly instrumental, to have a running storyline, but that's exactly what Lustmore does. "I believe each song to be like a mini film." Howard tells Exclaim! "There are characters there and a story line that flows. More and more I try to make music that has very strong visual aesthetics."
Lapalux certainly succeeds in painting a picture with this record. Its tale is one of shattering innocence and a sordid descent into the seedy underbelly of some unknown city, yet "Lustmore is a place that you can go too," according to Howard, "a rundown nightclub or bar. The music that plays there is the sounds from this album. It's a place that's dark and twisted, but beautiful at the same time."
In addition to having a narrative, Lustmore was also modelled on the concept of hypnagogia, the state between waking life and the unconscious.
A lot of Lustmore's dreamlike qualities are found on the album's collaborative tracks, where Howard utilized guest vocals to further his chosen theme. Unlike a lot of electronic producers, however, Howard made a point of recording all of the joined efforts in the same space, lending to a much more immersive sound. The most notable of these collaborations — and the only vocalist to appear twice on the record — is Andreya Triana, someone Howard was more than happy to net.
"She has such an amazing vocal style. I'd wanted to reach out to her for a long time, but never got round to it. When it finally happened though, it was just perfect."
For all its ideas, narratives, and collaborations, Lustmore is still far more enjoyable sonically than it is conceptually. It's sexy, beat-driven music for an unknown era, but none can sum it up better than Howard himself. "I like to think of it as a chocolate liquor. Sweet and sensual on the outside and deep and lustful on the inside."