FaltyDL: You Stand Uncertain (Planet µ)
FaltyDL is an artist who’s slowly crept into my periphery over the last year via remixes and compilation appearances. He seems to me to be quite versatile in all of the various off-shoots and styles of dubstep, garage and house music that have been skittering through the musical scenery in the last few years, and his latest full-length provides even more evidence toward that. Over the span of 12 tracks, he covers a fair amount of ground, combining both full songs with lyrics as well as numerous tracky explorations. There are three discrete songs, one of which kicks the album off. Anneka, who’s made the rounds doing vocals for other acts like Starkey, sings lead vocals on “Gospel Of Opal,” a nice, smooth lead-in to the album. However, by and large, I prefer the instrumental tracks (I do tend to gravitate toward instrumental music anyway), and there are plenty of gems to be found. “The Pacifist” is a really nice, unsettling combination of chords, pads, effects and beats, servicing that cool grey area between dance music, downtempo breaks and nostalgia in a great way. Its chord progressions remind me a bit of old 808 State, but the music sounds quite current otherwise, even as the breaks come out feeling slightly throwback or canned. Like much of the album, it still feels very “now” in spite of whatever references it’s making in any number of directions. “Lucky Luciano” is another one that harks back to early 90s rave and acid house in a nice way, with breaks that remind me of Autechre’s “Second Bad Vilbel” overhead sounds that are vintage 90s rave (think classic Speedy J or 808 State). “Voyager,” on the other hand, has a cool mid-tempo swagger that obliquely channels some of the fun spirit of label-head Mike Paradinas, and “Eight Eighteen Ten” combines frenetic drum & bass breaks with a killer electro-tinged bassline and spacious pads in an interesting way. It’s a mixed bag, for sure, because it weaves in and out of sounds but never seems too scattered for its own good; the uncertainty implied in title carries through the album in a way that keeps things lively and various in all the right ways.