Lapalux: Nostalchic (Brainfeeder)
Lapalux appears to be one of the more recent additions to the LA beat scene, and this full-length debut is a solid first showing. Being signed to Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus’s imprint, encourages some assumptions about the sound of Nostalchic, some of which are indulged and some which aren’t. Overall, the sound design isn’t as dense and sprawling as Flying Lotus’s more recent output, but there is some of that same playful spirit here. (If any Brainfeeder parallels can be drawn, I’d say the sound is not so far off from Matthewdavid’s excellent Outmind album from 2011.) There’s plenty of the sputtering, strange sound design not uncommon on the Brainfeeder label to be heard, never more evident than on the unfurling chaos of “Kelly Brook” or “Flower,” but it’s offset by some really simple beauty that helps add a certain amount of poignancy. Single “Without You” is a definitely standout with its woozy, melancholic swoon — it reminds me of the wistful soul of Alpha or Massive Attack in the late 90s, but with a current leftfield edge to it. It’s a gorgeous ballad that works well as the album’s centerpiece. Other favorites include the slow but steady groove of “Guuurl,” the R&B-by-way-of-outer-space of “Straight Over My Head,” and the plodding, deep bob of “The Dead Sea.” It’s a solid debut, and I’ve no doubt he’ll expand upon this already interesting set of ideas and tactics over time. Worth it for “Without You” alone — be sure to check out the video below — but the rest of it is handsome, too.