thu 30/05/2024

CD: Lapalux - Nostalchic | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Lapalux - Nostalchic

CD: Lapalux - Nostalchic

Essex electronic whizz kid debuts with fascinating space cadet R&B

Visuals also receive the Lapalux chop-up treatment

To the left of the electronic pop that dominates radio and the charts sits music which is that bit artier, emanating more class, imagination and sonic inventiveness. Think SBTRKT, Jessie Ware, Frank Ocean or Aluna George. Far, far to the left of that, then, out in a smeared alt-reality where Aphex Twin’s “Windowlicker” is the template for all, sits Lapalux.

Twenty-five year-old Stuart Howard from Essex first popped onto most radars last year through a pair of 12-inches with incongruous cover art, images of posh Keira Knightly-esque models sprawling, pouting, smoking cigars. It looked like the second coming of Roxy Music but didn’t sound like it. Now the debut album is here and it’s a treasure trove of ear-confusion, of R&B gone somewhere very peculiar. His remixes for the likes of Lianne la Havas and Speech Debelle hinted strongly that this would be an album to look forward to, and so it is.

Lapalux’s music phases in and out of focus in a way that plays tricks on the senses, rather like Neon Indian’s debut, but instead of pop and chill-out, his game is modern soul put through so many filters it becomes almost unrecognizable. “Kelly Brook” is a case in point. It sounds like light jazzy hip hop performed in a carpentry workshop and recorded through a hose, yet is also rather sexy… in a warped sort of way. Some songs are more straightforward, although not much – “One Thing” has a proper sung female vocal (from Jenna Andrews) yet is drowned in a stoned soup of tape-manipulated oddness, and “Without You” (featuring Kerry Leatham) is a Jamie Woon/James Blake-ish slowie redolent of "Moments in Love" by Art of Noise. The occasional blip of dissonant threat aside, as on “Straight Over My Head”, Nostalchic is mostly mellow, if rhythmically challenging, but its startling levels of originality make it one of the year’s essential albums. Where it leads, others will follow.

Watch the intriguingly off-kilter video for "Without You"

A treasure trove of ear-confusion, of R&B gone somewhere very peculiar


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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