Bangers: Galcher Lustwerk, Future, Jane Fitz
Music is hard to talk about, it seems, in part because almost all conversation has to do with the personalities behind it, or the most recent controversy, or anything but the actual music. But there are amazing releases coming from all over and they deserve to be highlighted properly. This column is a place where the stuff I’ve been bumping lately can hopefully get some credit for the sounds contained therein, not for context or thinkpiece nonsense. This is all going to be music that I find worth my time, not slams of things I didn’t care for or a place to talk about what everyone else might be. Because at the end of the day, the most important thing is what comes out of your speakers.
Galcher Lustwerk – Parlay/I Neva Seen
The origin story behind Parlay and I Neva Seen is one of those only-in-the-internet-age type things, but the music they contain isn’t so much “retro” as “timeless.” Back in 2013, an unknown producer released an hourlong mix collecting loose stems and tracks. It was well-received on its own, but these ideas take on new dimensions by trimming off some excess and sharpening the focus across two EPs and eight tracks. Deep house is nothing new but Lustwerk occasionally adds spoken word to the mix, hooks that feign smooth before digging in sharp. The secret is in the word choice and delivery, each just far enough from normal that the languid smoothness sneaks into the room. And there’s plenty to sneak through with the production. This is the most ‘analog’ electronic drums have sounded on any release this year and it’s not because they’ve been worked over to mimic something. Instead, each hit rings out with its own digital brittleness. As these tracks slowly build their way up and layer on more and more digitized components, there’s a warmth that emerges, a nostalgic echo of where we may have heard these sounds before. The overall mood is laid back and nocturnal. Nothing is even a hair faster than it should be and there isn’t a note out of place. The overall effect is sheer deep house elegance, and the laid-back lucidity is the perfect soundtrack for hot summer nights when moving above a carefully considered pace is completely out of the question.
Honest saw Future coming into his own, relishing fame and enjoying a moment on top of the world. But Honest also felt like Future wasn’t sure what sound he wanted to go with, with ballads and slow jams intermixing with booming trap, and while his voice saw itself hitting comfortable strides across styles and ranges he wouldn’t have been able to touch before there wasn’t anything tying all those strands together. Dirty Sprite 2 is a purified experience, one that relies on the production of Metro Boomin and Southside of 808 Mafia (as well as a few other appearances by others in Atlanta trap circles). The working relationship between rappers and producers is a critically underrated part of how albums come together, or how albums go from “good” to “great.” It’s clear that with some old friends by his side Future is able to go further than he would have before. His rapping is tight, his storytelling focus unblinking, and when he talks about using drugs to try and forget (but never totally forgetting), and trying to escape the circumstances he grew up in (but never really escaping), there’s a powerful new emotional dynamic in play that didn’t exist before Dirty Sprite 2. The vocals are polished and now entirely Future’s own, resting on a bed of trap that pokes and prods him forward. Honest may have been a misnomer; Dirty Sprite 2 is the unflinching, painful, and in its own way, beautiful, crown jewel in Future’s discography.
DJ skill has always been measured in terms of ability to work a crowd, but Jane Fitz’s career, spanning the past two decades and most of the globe, has always prioritized curation as well. This isn’t to say this is a set showing off the rarest of the rare, or any other kind of pretentious nonsense you’d find in most clubs. Jane Fitz is old school to the core, believing in the virtues of a strong selection and expert sequencing. Across 100 minutes, she does exactly that. DJ mixes are a personal favorite of mine, it’s a way to get to know artists outside of their own material and hear gems that might have gone undiscovered. Most importantly, though, it’s a way for countless grooves and rhythms to coalesce and connect into their own unique being. RA.477 starts off on one groove and expertly passes the baton to the next. Each transition is smooth as silk and every selection is as close to perfect as you can get. Jane Fitz may not be a household name, but this mix should be a staple for every cool kid trying to make their parties even cooler.
Peter McCracken is a student, tech support drone, and music aficionado from Milwaukee.