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FaltyDL – Mean Streets review

Perfectly timed to coincide with the release of FaltyDL’s imperious second album for Planet Mu, Swamp 81 drop his contribution to what is becoming the label’s Annus Mirabilis. Having already treated us to heavyweight vinyl excursions into 23rd century electro paced at 140bpm plus via Addison Groove and Boddika, those expecting something similar from the NYC beat wizard will get slapped in the face by the curveball nature of Mean Streets.

Anyone who has visited New York can testify to the magical hold the city retains on your memories long after you depart JFK airport, and Mean Streets Part One certainly comes across as Lustman’s ode to the unique hustle and bustle of the five boroughs. This is most evident in the title track, which much like the overall feel of You Stand Uncertain, laughs in the face of genre obsessives who throw around the post-whatever phrase all too easily.

“Mean Streets” revolves around an afro jazz swing that cuts through the pitched vocal effects and opaque chord washes, and perhaps most thrillingly offers up several rhythmic left turns along the way. On the flip “Moonshine” sounds like a lost Marvin Gaye classic diced up and made palatable for modern day beat junkies, whilst “Hard” is the sole concession to dancefloor dynamics with a fuzzed out bottom end thrust doused in rude attitude and expertly chopped up rave breaks. Whilst it’s become increasingly apparent Falty DL is just one of a number of artists at the moment who seem inspired to challenge preconceptions, what really impresses here is that Loefah’s label seems to be following in kind – which can only be a very good thing for the future of musical progression.

Tony Poland