Arriving four years after the iconoclast variously known as Sam Dust, LA PRIEST and La Priest thrilled the world with the cosmic pop of his debut album Inji, his first LP for Domino and his first solo output following the disbanding of former outfit, Late Of The Pier. GENE also follows the 2016 project Soft Hair, in which Sam teamed up with Connan Mockasin for an instant cult-classic album.
GENE, the album, is named after a brand new analog drum machine Sam dreamt up and built alone. Working in isolation for more than two years, soldering iron in hand, Sam developed the inners of GENE using dozens of electrical circuits he made up himself. Its unique rhythmic patterns are the focal point for the album, which is coloured by lush, pastoral tones. Where before there were traces of the far out stylings of Late Of The Pier, the band that made his name, Aphex Twin and Ariel Pink, now there are shades of Arthur Russell, Prince and even Radiohead.
Sam achieved instant cult hero status when Late Of The Pier broke big, the band shining a light on his wandering talents. Bruised by hard touring and the record business, he began to retreat, embracing a nomadic working style oblivious to space and time. Inji dropped in 2015, establishing his off-kilter pop sound as a force to behold. Soft Hair, his 2016 project with Connan Mockasin, was slinkier and more demure, now, GENE locks into an altogether different groove.
For the three years it took to make the album, he didn’t listen to any other music. This allowed him to step into another dimension. “A symptom of not listening to anybody else’s music is that you’re heart rate is a lot slower, your brain’s running at a different speed,” says Sam, revealing that he sped up some of the songs as the record grew.
As ever with LA Priest, there’s no such thing as predictable.