GENE

Domino Recording Co.

Writer/producer Sam Eastgate (aka Samuel Dust) cuts loose for his sophomore appearance as the ubiquitous bon vivant, LA Priest.

A sparkling follow-up to his 2015 rural isolation project, Inji, this is Eastgate’s first solo release since the dissolution of his UK dance-punk outfit Late Of The Pier. GENE probes pop-electronic territories with the same expansive curiosity that fuelled his Soft Hair (2016) collaboration with Kiwi psych-funk “Jassbuster,” Connan Mockasin.

“Beginning” coaxes the listener out from under the couch and into the realm of the absurd. Preaching the gospel of groove on the scintillating “Rubber Sky” and day-tripping through “Open My Eyes,” Eastgate sets off on a lazy backstroke through a shimmering catalogue of loungey sprawlers.

An expert improvisor who grew up surrounded by his New Wave musician father’s junkheap of busted amps and wonky keyboards, Eastgate drops the pressure on exquisitely crafted tracks like the quirky confessional “What Moves,” the soul strumming “Sudden Thing,” and the atmospheric “Monochrome.” Further along, the wispy Prince-paramour “Kissing of the Weeds” segues into the crystalline lab-work of “Black Smoke,” methodically culminating in the post-coital hush of “Ain’t No Love Affair.”

A playful and self-liberating selection of sonic place settings, GENE’s super-structure is designed to dissolve even as it leads you up the double-helix staircase. Hustle without the flex, it’s a beautiful thing.

Best Track: “Rubber Sky”

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