• expensive looks Dark Matters (CD, £11.50)

    label: Group Tightener

    Alec Feld grew up in New York on a steady diet of Chicago house, disco, old Motown stuff and a smattering of his parents' psych records, as well as "trashy '90s dance." As a kid, he didn't really know how any of the songs were created, or that sampling was even a thing that people did-but he wanted to be part of it, so he taught himself to DJ. From there, he began to produce. Feld has been surrounded by electronic music his entire life, but with no blueprint for how to make what he wanted to hear, he figured it out on his own. "I became sick and tired of the notion that there are right and wrong ways to create and be creative," he says. Dark Matters is his debut LP as Expensive Looks. It flows continuously across nine tracks, touching on elements of all the music he grew up on: hypnotic house, textured minimalism, and the gorgeous moment of musical epiphany that happens when a beat drops out and all that's left is the aural equivalent of taking a deep breath and staring at the stars. It's a dance record with the sort of scrappy, open heart that can only come from someone like Feld. Expensive Looks is all encompassing, it draws from all genres without border, pulling everything into one warped but pointed mass. "Dark Matters comes into play as confusion and constant bipolar shifts all for the pursuit of happiness," Feld says. "I kill for euphoria and use it as a venue to get that polar-shifting depressive state across. This isn't about me not being happy, it's more about my frustration with the pursuit of happiness. I'm also kind of a space nut. There is little logic behind what 'dark matter' is and how it works." Dark Matters feels like the beginning of something for Feld. It's a survey of what it means to spend your whole life trying to figure out what you want from music without any guidelines. "Smashing keys turned into sequencing and sampling," says Feld. "I have no creative process. I don't write songs and I don't know what I want. I've narrowed down what Expensive Looks represents, taught myself a skill set previously non-existent in my mind and engaged myself in something that was once a fantasy." Dark Matters is a strange record, but it's also familiar. A summation of a sound or mood, and a fantastic beginning point for what will come next for Expensive Looks. "There's a new guy who makes looped pop soul in town, and his name is Expensive Looks - his music appeals through its sunshine ambience and its expressive tones." - Dummy "Like pulling back the drapes in a dingy room on a sunny day." - Stereogum "Congested and sluggish buildups, tropical breaks and reverb soaked in enough codeine to fill even the largest Dirty South styrofoam cup." - Weekly Tape Deck

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