Brainfeeder, owned by acclaimed producer Flying Lotus, is quite a tight knit label, so it comes as no surprise that Stuart Howard, or Lapalux as he’s more widely known, is releasing new output just weeks after the widespread praise for FlyLo’s newest record Until The Quiet Comes. Howard released his first EP, When You’re Gone, for the label back in February, utilising a mixture of haunting vocal samples, futuristic percussion and woozy atmospherics. Mere months later and Howard has prepared his second release for Brainfeeder, an EP that feels like a continuation of When You’re Gone, only searching deeper into his own sound. It feels as if Howard meant the two releases to be linked in some way as the same girl who graces the cover of When You’re Gone features on the artwork of Some Other Time; this time alone. Throughout the EP, it often sounds as if the recordings have been submerged into the depths of the ocean and the development of the songs is an exploration of that strange realm.
Some Other Time sees Howard’s continuation of manic, ricocheting click-and-pop percussion, but it’s more richly mixed with dense, nocturnal atmospherics for a decidedly night time sound. Though everything is so thickly coated in atmosphere, it manages not to overshadow the precision and clarity of the production that brings to mind the sample-happy XXYYXX’s ability to make you second-guess and take your headphones off to check that what you’re hearing isn’t background noise. Often, the transitions on the EP aren’t seamless but work within its context as Howard brings a varied range of styles to the table whilst retaining his idiosyncratic touches. “Quartz” opens with the sound of repeated Oriental chimes before fading out into calming bird-call samples, infused with the ghostly, heavily-echoed samples that are dotted throughout. Howard utilises these in different ways, on “Strangling You With The Chord” by mixing them up with a grime infused beat that sounds like the soundtrack to a high-speed racing game.
The centrepiece of the EP, “Forgetting and Learning Again,” is the most vocal-heavy song on the EP, with Kerry Leatham’s sultry monotone vocals chopped and screwed – starting off as if she’s telling a story about someone who’s “body soft and weak and any signs of life have long since disappeared” but getting caught up in it all and repeating “I guess I’ll have another” mournfully before fading out. Placed beside offbeat clicks and a siren-esque repetition, it feels as if this is the retelling of the loss of someone close. This is part of what is so intriguing about Lapalux. Whilst the music is primarily in the form of beat-making, there are palatable emotions delivered that set this apart from your regular producer. The crackling sound of a record playing, the rusty creak of a door, oscillating radio signals; they all humanise Some Other Time, which often experiments with quite a robotic and clinical realm of music.
It’s not hard to see why Howard was signed to Brainfeeder as he showcases some elements here that fall towards the warmer spectrum of electronic music and mirror the more minimalist approach of Brainfeeder owner FlyLo. Whilst there has been a focus on the maximalist approach that has spawned in the wake of Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma, Lapalux is one of few artists who has really brought something different to his music that feels relatable and Some Other Time executes the sample-heavy approach well.