In the Wild

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Dreamy, smooth, slow burners have long been at the command of N.Y.C.-based producer Drew Lustman (aka FaltyDL), but on his fourth studio album, In the Wild, the producer has upped the ante with -- of all things -- a new soundfield. Crafted with artist Chris Shen, the album is a spatial wonder, reflecting the outdoor nature of its title with a soundfield that sounds like the great outdoors. Pillowy, cloudlike melodies echo and fade, or sometimes get swept away by the wind, and there's nothing up-front or "in your face" about it, as everything sounds crystal-clear but at least five feet away from the (virtual) microphone. Neat trick, and anyone feeling a bit closed-in would benefit from the freeing sound of the LP, but it wouldn't be enough if the songs weren't there, and they most certainly are. "Some Jazz Shit" overcomes its flippant title with what sounds like Bill Evans or Dave Brubeck jamming with downtempo legends Kruder & Dorfmeister, while "Heart & Soul" could be a lifted cut from 4hero's great Parallel Universe as it mixes heavenly drum'n'bass with future soul. Not everything is sweetness and light, as "Nine" is a disconcerting bit of dissonance with off-kilter rhythms while "Do Me" is the kind of avant-garde and austere stuff that Laurie Anderson is known for, although here, it's surrounded by pure bliss. FaltyDL's journey seems to be leading him into modern composition and audio art, as In the Wild suggests he may be the first artist to jump from the Ninja Tune label to Deutsche Grammophon, so check this weighty and wonderful piece before he totally drops the spliff and starts writing strictly for symphonies or multimedia installations.

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