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Galcher Lustwerk – 100% Galcher

Galcher Lustwerk – 100% Galcher (2012)

Continuing with the theme of albums that might not meet some definitions of the term, in today's selection we find a mixtape put out early in the career of artist Galcher Lustwerk. I have no recollection of how I came upon this, but it exists today as a single, hour-and-one-minute-long mp3 on my hard drive. Based on the filename, it appears to have been put out or at least promoted in some capacity by Blowing Up the Workshop. Anyway, it's also taking up disc space on my phone, and operates as a go-to "late night subway ride home" chill-out soundtrack.

How to describe this music? The bandcamp page for his latest studio album describes it as "low-key hip-house". That works for me. On 100% Galcher, there aren't exactly distinct tracks, at least not that I've noticed – everything is kind of strung together and one passage of music smoothly and satisfyingly melds into the next. Occasionally there's a sample of some French-accented female voice speaking the artist's name, so perhaps these can be interpreted as track breaks. It doesn't really matter. The music lulls you into its sonic ambiance, which is pacific but not lethargic, and at best hypnotic.

The lyrical content here is sparse, but it's in fact the key to what makes this music so impactful. Delivered in low-register deadpan, the words sketch blurry, disconnected frames of New York City nightlife, as if flipping ambivalently through channels following the various misadventures of these denizens of the night. "Uptown, downtown, crosstown" they go, chasing the action, inevitably to be disappointed. This is minimalism at its best: not minimal for the sake of being so, but because it loads what remains with portent and possibility. "Remember?" he asks later, and then again, the eerie voice reverberating off into the void. And every time, there's no response.

davidcolucci.com  >  An album a day in May