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Herb Sundays 59: Galcher Lustwerk
The low-key hip-house king goes off: “a lot of midwest memories, driving aimlessly, singing along or just zoning out." Art by Cina.
Galcher Lustwerk on his Herb 59 mix:
“A lot of croony indie, some female new waveyness, heavy guitar music, and mainstream electronica. I conjured up a lot of midwest memories, driving aimlessly, singing along or just zoning out. All of these tracks I personally came upon with little effort, and so I often overlook them unless I'm just listening for pleasure. Anyone looking for some emotional harmonies and textures should give this playlist a spin. Bonus I made it fit onto a CDR if you're still driving an old Honda.”
Galcher Lustwerk, a nom de plume of one Cleveland-raised, New York-based Chris Sherron, who also produces tracks under the alias Road Hog (check the holiday-themed album) and 420 (who gets shouted out in High Times). The Galcher alias, in true internet fashion, was served to him as a CAPTCHA code and has become a musical mark of quality since the emergence of 100% GALCHER, his first online mixtape in 2013 comprised of all his own material at the time. It remains a classic in its re-invigoration of hip-house music that is “deep, detached, psychedelic, equally cut for the club, after-hours, night drives, and headphones.” (note: Ghostly (we release a lot of Chris’s music) will have some 100% news this week, smash that email subscribe link to stay in the loop).
The original Soundcloud of the mix includes cherry comments such as:
“Maate remember this been played in Victoria park and I still listen to it today, truely one of the mixes that has made me shit my pants through the years.”
“Such heavenly beautiful music. I could die listening to this and be the happiest person on the planet in my dying moments. haha!”
The topic of House has been back in the mainstream thanks to major stars like Beyoncé and Drake connecting variants of the style to their latest albums. House tends to sweep in and out of our pop culture lives every 7-10 years. We consider its existence sort of a given, but maybe we can finally say collectively it’s right up there with the Best American Things of the last 100-some years along with Jazz, Hip-Hop, and jeans. While Galcher didn’t invent “Hip-House” (which has myriad roots, including Chicago Acid House, New York’s brilliant Todd Terry, and UK club culture, etc.) he definitely modernized it into something highly durable and influential.
100% Galcher was not just a phenomenon; it was the end—and the beginning—of an era. Released five years ago, on a low-key British electronic-music blog called Blowing Up the Workshop, the mixtape made the then-unknown Galcher Lustwerk into an underground house superstar. Without the help of our present-day streaming ecosystem, the Ohio-bred, New York-based producer went quietly viral, as word of his smoky hip-house songs passed between inboxes. He crafted a document that not only captured the shape of deep house to come but enabled him to cross over in a way few artists in his world ever do. His beautiful, scratchy baritone and the scuffed-up beats surrounding every purr were a magical combo that resonated with clubgoers and headphone listeners alike. - Kevin Lozano, Pitchfork
The other aspect of Sherron’s work that often gets left out of the story is his cultural innovation outside of music. The beloved archive site Are.na was co-founded by Sherron, as well as the influential K-Hole crew (check Normcore, etc), who in their separate ways have made internet-age culture and critique mix nice and smooth like peanut butter and chocolate. I think of his body of work closer to that of a fine artist in many ways, a theme that keeps coming up for me, and he recently produced the score for artist Josh Kline’s latest short film shot on 16mm, “Adaptation” which will be on display as part of Kline’s Whitney show next year.
I was trying to figure out what the higher message was with this week’s Herb and I think it’s about intellectual or even just musical curiosity. The desire to actually listen instead of brush things aside out of fear or fatigue. It’s a constant battle that Chris makes look easy. I asked Chris to contribute as he tends to go with the DGAF approach to taste. Not in a joking manner at all, he just knows where the good is at. His mix reminds you that Sherron’s story started with DIY shows at punk houses in Cleveland, noise festivals in Providence, and then raves in New York. He’s truly a child of the playlist.
There is a pure confidence in his taste authority, unperturbed by the signals certain genres might throw off (HS59 includes Sting, Nelly Furtado, Korn, and more), which makes him a true terminator. He’s someone who scans through the noise and sees the tune for what it is, and quickly knows if it’s actually good or not, in a way most can’t even explain. That’s the Herb Experience.
Similarly direct in other lanes, Sherron, in his low-key style, has also become an outspoken speaker on the ills of modern music culture. Chris has shared stories about his mistreatment at the hands of club bouncers and TSA agents. He’s offered experiences of playing Hip-Hop at clubs and being rejected for not only playing his celebrated style. This reminded me of Jeff Mills’ interview for Tiga’s immaculate Last Party On Earth podcast, who shared a similar anecdote. It’s a reminder that while we revere Black Excellence in the arts, there are a lot of stipulations people put on its expression.
In the spirit of driving music and laser-sharp taste, we present Herb Sundays 59, one of my faves to date. - Sam
From The field.
Peach on Beats In Space (Apple Music) starts off with the cold hit of IDM (CiM’s “Hitachi”) which is like the Mr. Autumn Man blood coursing through my veins. Bonus: the b-side mix from this week’s BiS is host/founder Tim Sweeney in Storytime Tim mode going all Underworld and Moby on us. Tip!
Matthew Schnipper (Herb 34) continues to do the heavy lifting with his great Deep Voices substack/mixes sharing how music has helped him through more than heavy life events: “I made this playlist a few months ago. I feel like, of all the 60 minutes of music I’ve sent out the last two years, this one gels most as a seamless collage, one unified piece of sound. That’s more about tone than genre. There’s folk, new wave, jazz, and a few different kinds of experimentalism. But across the songs there’s a moody humidity, a unifying loll. There’s urgency but no destination.”
Good news for my Bandcamp heads (here’s my collection): Buy Music Club, a “website for curating and sharing lists of independent music downloads available on Bandcamp” which is run by Avalon Emerson and friends, now has a playback mode that makes listening and shopping way more fun. (Also for the deep cut Bandcampers, if you don’t subscribe to the Common Time newsletter/blog, you are losing, and badly.)