Lapalux's second album, Lustmore, was inspired by the semi-conscious state between wakefulness and sleep, but on follow-up Ruinism, he ventures into the territory separating life from death. While this might seem like a logical thematic transition, it results in a vastly different sound for the British artist. It's easily the darkest, eeriest work he's produced, replacing much of the yearning, lovelorn feelings of his previous work with alarmed ponderings about mortality. While his music still seems abstract and ethereal, it's much more focused here than on previous efforts. It seems a lot colder and harder-edged than the slippery, squishy textures of his past work. He also moves away from many of the overt R&B and hip-hop influences of his prior releases, verging on contemporary classical on some pieces. The album's title stems from his creative process -- Lapalux records instruments and drastically alters them until they're vastly different than their original form, then he builds songs out of the deconstructed sounds. The album is awash with swelling strings and billowing synth tones, and when the beats do appear, they're often jagged, sporadic thumps. "Data Demon" builds up tension, which is countered by weightless vocals from GABI. After a woozy, Kuedo-like melody appears, the beat hammers down during the song's final moments. "Petty Passion" surrounds sly, delicate vocals with a flurry of explosive grime beats, and ends up being equally disconcerting and soothing. "Rotted Arp" begins with cloudy synths and deeply introspective spoken thoughts by Louisahhh, eventually joined by pounding beats and buzzing bass. "Falling Down" is more romantic, with enchanting vocals by JFDR floating in the center of a storm consisting of highly abrasive, destructive beats. Lapalux seems to thrive on these sorts of light-meets-dark juxtapositions, and while such combinations could result in a confused mess, he maintains a razor-sharp focus. Ruinism is a bold reinvention of Lapalux's sound, and is undoubtedly his best work to date.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson