The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Galcher Lustwerk understands the rhythms of real life

Galcher Lustwerk’s third album is “Information.” (Collin Hughes)

Whenever the crushing immensity of the Internet makes today’s music feel impenetrable, try to remind yourself that the human experience is a listening experience. Then maybe go listen to the new Galcher Lustwerk album.

Even if you haven’t followed this Cleveland native’s quiet ascent out of the dance music underground, you’ve still been preparing yourself for his music for your entire life. A passing fluency in house and techno might better contextualize his coolheaded mild-style, but the core prerequisites for understanding his work include walking, counting, chewing gum, knocking on doors, climbing or descending stairs, button pushing, QWERTY clacking, mantra recitation, whispered prayer, inhaling, exhaling, pumping blood, plus every nervous tic or anticipatory fidget that punctuates your day.

It’s his understanding of life’s most mundane physical repetitions that makes Galcher Lustwerk’s third album, “Information,” feel discreetly profound. Instead of pushing out toward the frontiers charted by the electronic musicians who inspired him, he moves his music inward until it starts to feel as intimate and intuitive as everyday life. His sound feels easy to know because it already knows you. It knows what you’re doing with your body when you aren’t out on the dance floor.

Its other distinguishing trait is more obvious: Galcher Lustwerk’s rhymes, which bounce across these rippling house tracks like skipped pebbles. Delivered in purrs and murmurs, his lyrics can be as deep, meaningless, funny or mournful as you need them to be. But his best lines have always felt like fragmented poetry, economical and deadpan. In 2018, he delivered an existential shrug for the ages: “Life is but a b----.” An equally exquisite cut from 2015 simply asked, “Remember?”

On “Information,” his locomotive chitchat feels most vivid during “Fathomless Irie,” a song that tiptoes past the two-minute mark before our narrator’s indoor-voice fades into the picture. “I feel like I’m in Africa,” he explains. “I ain’t never been to Africa.” As his voice floats toward the foreground, the song becomes a confessional daydream, a yearning for ancestral homeland, an astral projection built atop a drum machine’s devoted pulse.

The trivial clacks and clicks of your daily life might provide a portal into this music, but once you’re inside, it takes you far away.

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