Two years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing Lapalux’s textural debut album, Nostalchic, as one of my first articles for LYFSTYL. Now, in 2015, Stuart Howard gave us his highly anticipated sophomore album Lustmore, promising us another bubbling, sensual album of languid gazes and slow caresses.
Where Nostalchic explored the grittier sexuality of moving to Los Angeles to be closer to the Brainfeeder family, Lustmore returns to Howard’s UK roots of lush production quality. With nods to garage and drum & bass, Howard takes the trend of sterile, clean production and meticulously blurs those lines between dreaming and wakefulness. He turns away from his somewhat over-produced Nostalchic on Lustmore, and gives us easier to digest experimental electronic music.
On tracks like ‘Sum Body,’ ‘Push N’ Spun,’ and ‘Funny Games,’ he manipulates sounds into jarring states of soulful consciousness. They’re lustful, playing with seduction and yearning, allowing for the break into touching and sex with ‘We Lost,’ ‘Autumn (Tape Interlude),’ and ‘Puzzle,’ which happen to be a few of my favorite tracks off the album.
Howard’s comfort zone of music for lovemaking shines as he lets his vocalists Szjerdene and Andreya Triana guide ephemeral beauty into his songs. While on the verge of malignance, the desperation for intimacy and adoration shines with Szjerdene’s croons on ‘Closure.’ He takes the chorus and has it echo in the background instead of being at the forefront to draw listeners into a shared experience of longing. On ‘Puzzle,’ he incorporates jazz and threaded sounds from ‘Push N’ Spun’ to maintain a seamless, flowing album which is especially important when spinning it for a lover.
Lustmore is a diversely produced album when seated next to Nostalchic. He puts in faster-paced, heavily drum & bass inspired tracks like ‘Midnight Peelers,’ ‘Bud,’ and ‘Make Money.’ The three tracks placed within the album provide an ebb and flow, especially with the jarring exchanges between heavy bass and sharp hi-hats on ‘Make Money.’ Even with the grittiness of the tracks, they still carry an underlying sexual aggression, allowing threads of sensuality and dreamstates to continue on.
For Howard, Lustmore continues his quest to exhaustively explore dreams and music for lovemaking, but it also carries a richer, mature sound from 2013’s Nostalchic. You can hear his growth and his restraint on over producing the album, but still gives room for him to explore himself musically and philosophically. He managed to balance his immersion of Los Angeles electronic style with his roots in UK dance music to create another moving, seductive piece of deep reflection and nostalgia, perfect for lovemaking.