Back towards the end of the last decade, there was a new generation of music producer that started to rise to prominence in the UK. It was a generation that came into music on the precipice of the ultimate popularity of Dubstep as the last truly new genre of music and providing a platform for new, young artistic voices onto the scene. With advancements in computer music technology hurtling into the hands of youngsters with a laptop and a singular creative vision, the landscape was completely decimated of entrenched traditional musical languages as these artists found solace in the experimental fusion of sounds with everything from RnB to Acid informing these new sounds in a post-dubstep landscape.
In 2008, Lapalux was one of these voices, releasing a few mixtapes, before finding the ear of Flying Lotus at Brainfeeder, who quickly installed the artist on the label as one of the truly unique voices of the next decade. From his first EP for the label in 2012 to the present, Lapalux has remained devoted to the label, releasing at least one record a year, including four albums that conclude the decade with “Amnioverse” in 2019. Lapalux thus closes out another decade with music, imbued with that familiar spirit of the last one, but with the maturity that only experience can bring.
Amnioverse is familiar for its fusion of musical languages, where elements of RnB and bass music float in a stark electronic world where gleaming synthetic atmospheres cloud piercing rhythm constructions. Initial inspiration for the album came from a photograph of James Turrell’s Twilight Epiphany Skyspace installation in Texas, according to the press release for the record. “It seems like we are all in that waiting room, waiting to be somewhere or go somewhere” explains the artist and through the bulk of the LP, that is revealed through languid ambient textures that seem to simply exist, only progressing in the most subtle variations on individual tracks.
In the context of its entirety the album has its own progression moving from songs like sound installations to the outer fringes of experimentalism with the artist’s modular synthesiser as abstract sonic palette. The LP turns around “Thin Air,” with “Voltaic Acid” providing the first lysergic strains of otherworldly sounds that dominate the record by “The Lux Quadrant” and its impulsive machine rhythms. These are also the most striking pieces on the record, especially when the ghostly vocals of “JFDR” and “Lilia” haunt passages like a voice projected out of the ether somewhere. The human voice juxtaposes irreverent machines with Lapalux wearing his RnB influences on his sleeve, before disappearing back into a flurry of randomised sounds and rhythms.
At times the sonic treatments hark back to records like Amon Tobin’s Isam, which dates the record somewhat, but there is enough new ideas feeding into the construction of the record to modernise these tracks, while at the same time offering a record that is completely negating any sonic zeitgeist, other than the tools used to create it. It might not be soundtracking the next decade exactly like Lapalux’s music intended to do with the last, but with the same attitude that dominated his early irreverent pieces, the artist has created a record in “Amioverse” that suggests their is something left to explore in a post-dubstep world.
While we’ve lost touch with this kind of experimental attitude towards electronic music in a landscape dominated by music that has returned for the most part to their archetypal origins, a record like “Amnioverse” suggests there is still enough to be uncovered in the realm of electronic music, and perhaps this attitude like this if not this record will set the tone for the next decade again.