Falty DL (Planet Mu) Album Review + Dubspot Interview

[FaltyDL - "Waited Patiently (ft. Lily Mackenzie)" (Planet Mu).]

Falty DL‘s You Stand Uncertain is the dual citizen offspring of influences from different generations. It was conceived in an attic with oil stained, disjointed wood floors full of dusty hard drives, vinyl, and floppy discs. In this tiny sealed off room, the album began forming its own ideas based on these inspirations and matured as a monochrome collage, greyscaled with age but tinted with recreated colors and coated in a glossy sheen. There’s a detailed narrative in this piece, but it’s one told by a collection of ideas bonded together far from chronological order. The composition flits about, eager to tell its tale, jumping from one substantive point to another, even within each song, bursting with side notes and digressions. The texture of history is wedded throughout, backed by the warm hum of its bass power source and the new mutations of past ideas. It showcases the connections between the percussion of garage and jazz and builds on the similarities of the synths in funk and rave. At times it shares a distant likemindedness with 90s crate digging hip hop due to its appreciation of similar roots, but supplants the boom bap with a skitter step. The comforting electric crackle from the ocean of imagination creates an expansive space in the mind. Sounds often echo and twist in effects that highlight and revel in the distance of the roots it’s built on. The contours of buried layers push through those on the top, altering them in new ways. At times it dwells on the feeling of a space absent any rationality, but it often incubates those emotions in ways that highlight their usefulness. The drums are not as hyperactive as its younger siblings from prior releases and reveal a confidence in allowing the story unfold at the pace that best suits it. It dropped on Planet Mu March 14th. [COP IT] - MS

[FaltyDL - "The Pacifist" (Planet Mu). Photo by James Kachan.]


You’ve talked about going to clubs to find where your music fits. Where in New York did you go, and what did you decide fit?

I didn’t go to clubs to see where it fits, I would see if it fit in a club at all. I went to Dub War a lot at Club Love and saw a lot of different music that inspired me and also some that alarmed me. Made me not want to make a certain type of music. But that’s my personal opinion, people were generally off their face there and loving it.

Do crowds in the UK and Europe react differently to your music?

Yeah it’s all different and hard to generalize who or where will react what way. I would say the dance culture in Europe is stronger then America. So that helps the crowds get down to what I am playing. For instance if I play in London I have to work a lot harder to wow the crowd, the kids hear it all over there. In NYC I can get away with some shit that people might react to as old. Like that track has been around for a minute, it’s not cool anymore. Which is bullshit. In Europe I have a lot of fun with the crowds, I try and ask for dark lights and less of a stage there, I want to be off to the side and let the music talk.

[FaltyDL, "Brazil (ft Lily MacKenzie)" (Planet Mu). Check the label's Soundcloud for a bunch of remixes of this one.]

Could you explain your approach to making “chill but exciting” music?

Have I said that? Haha, I dunno, there is no approach. Nothing is carefully gauged or pre-planned. I sit down and make whatever I can with the samples I have that day. If I’m not in a chill mood I won’t necessarily make chill music. What I think I meant was non-aggressive sounding music can be exciting. We are living in a “drop” movement, people wait for the big drop in a tune. Sure thats fun to DJ with, but most music heard is in MP3 format. Do you want a massive drop when you are at home in your underwear sitting at your laptop at 2 in the afternoon on a Sunday? I don’t.

Which recent artists do you think most successfully make dance music that is also satisfying compositionally and emotionally and why?

Yeah Sepalcure are doing that for me. James Blake does that. Pearson Sound does that too and Untold. Shit, a lot of people do that.

Do you test drive much music locally?

I do when I gig. It’s scary sometimes, but you need to. I also test it by giving the tunes to much better DJs than myself. If they are into it, then it’s good.

Do you feel the new LP recalls your hip hop influences as much as it does your affinity for early rave sounds?

Not as much. I think it recalls my love of funk and jazz more then my older EPs and album. I sampled more of that type of stuff than hip hop.

[Kotchy - "Getaway (FaltyDL Remix)". Photo by Rene Passet.]

What is your studio setup?

Mac, a few MIDI keyboards, an MPD24, DT990 Pro [headphones], JBL4328P monitors and a ton of music.

What is the key to identifying a good sample and using it?

It’s all about context. Where it originates from, where it is going to be put. How will it work in the tune I am making, how did it work in the original? Do I like the way it was recorded originally? Can I hear the room it was made in? Or was it made on a computer/synth and sounds very dry? All these types of questions are asked and answered in sorta quick swipe of the mouse. I have a gut feeling about a sample, and I go with that, trust myself.

How do you increase the quality of a lower quality sample?

Some EQing helps. But I don’t settle for anything that isn’t exactly how I want it. Sometimes I prefer a low quality sample cause I’m making a lo fi sounding track.

What is your process for working out a sound that expresses a particular emotion?

I don’t put nearly as much thought into this as you have with this question, haha. Again, there is no precognition of how I achieve a sound. It all just makes sense in the moment. If anything, I just trust my gut.

Do you do any live bass playing on the album?

Not this one, I had on the last album a little.

What is your live setup?

Ableton, laptop, a few tricks and some water.

  • Retail DJ
  • 4/8/2011

great write-up/interview. i love this guy’s work, so it’s nice to get a peek into his creative process.

- Retail DJ