Adam Wray’s favorite Ninja Turtle is Leonardo.
Drew Lustman aka FaltyDL, has been one of dance music’s unsung heroes for a minute. Since signing with Planet Mu in 2008, Lustman’s been working hard to establish himself as one North America’s most consistent and exciting producers, filtering far-flung regional sounds through a distinctly New York lens. Parse his tunes and you’ll hear bits of acid house, UK garage, Detroit techno, breakbeat, and everything in between. And though these x + y descriptors might be the simplest way to describe Lustman’s sound, they hardly do it justice — over two full-lengths, several EPs, and a clutch of 12″s and remixes, he’s developed a voice that elides reductive comparisons. He’s enlisted Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet to remix “Straight & Arrow,” the lead single from Hardcourage, his forthcoming LP.
Hebden is a proper remix artiste, with a tendency to blast tunes into abstraction and reassemble them in ways that hardly resemble their source material. He works like a kid wont to crack a Lego kit and toss the instructions in favour of something strange and beautiful and utterly his own. His version of “Straight & Arrow” follows this model. He’s kept the original’s plaintive, far-off vocal loop and chucked nearly everything else, stripping the tune of its steady groove and glossy synths. He builds his track slowly, spending nearly four minutes playing the vocals off muted guitar and a clattering hi-hat beat before shifting gears with the introduction of an ominous synth loop.
From here, the tune ebbs and flows. Elements sharpen and blur, rise up in the mix and dissolve as quickly. It’s restrained and sophisticated, complementing both the original track and Hebden’s recent output nicely. It’s the work of a composer operating at his peak.