Pictures are repressing this debut release from Essex producer Stuart Howard aka Lapalux, a time capsule from his formative days. While recent output has borderline trap tendencies, Many Faces Out of Focus lies within the ambient/'post-dubstep' scene of 2010-12, with downtempo beats and hazy synth textures galore.
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This reissue of Lapalux's 2011 Many Faces Out of Focus is an essential part of the early 10s dubstep-ish sound, when producers realised that they didn't have to rely on grimy wobbles and evil vocals to satisfy that infamous midtempo groove. Pictures Music is a label that exemplified that sound in which dubstep gets sparklier and much more melodic, featuring some important early 12 inchers that bring touches of garage, ambient and R&B to the melting pot such as Koreless' 4D / MTI and Dauwd's What's There.
It was part of a larger movement where younger producers were becoming masters of homegrown digital dance music, bringing an impeccably polished arsenal of new sounds. If you've been following dance music over the last few years, you'll have heard the chopped and pitched vocal samples championed by this lot (see 'Ivana' by Koreless) as well as synths hidden behind a wall of artificial vinyl crackle. This particular EP however utilises some even more bold sonic craft, mirroring Gold Panda's sampling dexterity and depth of palette. Layers of white noise appear sporadically, barely recognisable guitars occasionally rise out of the haze and bizarre flicks and bleeps fill the space between the consistently head-nodding tempo. Vocal slices are much more subtle than a lot of producers in this style, often with many parts forming a fake choir as displayed in final track 'Time, Patience, Everything'. Oh, and this lot love deep song titles.
With key artists releasing new material and moving further into house and synthy ambient territory, it seems a fitting amount of time to take a look back to important records from this fertile electronic scene.
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