It’s only been four months since Stuart Howard (aka Lapalux) released his third studio album Ruinism and yet here we are in October, the trees have barely shed their leaves, and the Essex-based producer has found the time and energy to unshackle The End Of Industry, a 5 track EP to ease us gently into colder days and darker nights. Don’t be tricked into thinking the obvious, this is not a set of mere cast-offs from Ruinism re-packaged in a bid to hijack the Christmas market; I actually don’t think pagan festivities exist in a world inhabited by Lapalux.
Electronic music has become a hard sell for the industry, the market is saturated with bedroom wizards squaring up to hi-tec druids and to the casual observer it can all seem a blurred mess. So spare a thought for the PR companies whose role it is to help us differentiate; this is the accompanying blurb to The End Of Industry:
“The EP’s sonic palette comes from, in part, self-modulating and self-generative modular patches and from played in, recorded motifs and instrumentation as well as heavy editing.”
I actually haven’t a Scooby what any of that means so I contacted the Plain English Society who told me Lapalux has twiddled some knobs and moved some sliders up and down for a bit. What I have been able to elicit from the EP is a real sense of scope and experimentation. None of the five tracks featured are remotely similar, each with its own individual characteristics and personality which pretty much defy every day description. According to Lapalux himself “computerised machines are now taking over a vast majority of industrial tasks and this EP is a window into that transitioning world.” OK let me give you my take…
‘Complectual’ is the sound of birdsong, well it would do if the world was run by 50 foot metallic birds hell bent on destroying mankind whereas ‘Holding On’ begins life as a mid-90s Balearic chill out number which skirts dangerously towards 10cc‘s ‘I’m Not In Love’ prior to it’s descent into techno euphoria and than unravelling like a sub-standard Turkish rug. As for ‘Shape Sharper’, well, imagine observing Kryten from Red Dwarf furiously attempting to light a fire with a set of bellows, that pretty much encapsulates the sound to perfection.
‘Alpha-Plus’ nearly made me weep, in a positive way. If you have ever witnessed the entrails of the film The Mist then believe me, this should have provided the final soundtrack. The track slowly deconstructs itself and as the murk and confusion dissipate, all that is left is a simple keyboard refrain. Gorgeous. The EP concludes with ‘Smoke Streams’, seven minutes of coherent cold cuts. It’s as if Lapalux has emptied his musical slops tray and somehow constructed an entirely new taste sensation.
In short, these 5 tracks are totally bonkers, beautifully crafted and produced, but bonkers nonetheless. Forget your sonic soundscapes and your Man v Machine nonsense, this is an EP of human emotions filtered through an electronic babel fish and served up cold to go down with a nice Chianti. Love it.