Ask the Dust, named in tribute to John Fante's cult 1939 novel, is purposed to depart from the self-described "cold and strict" confines of his previous output. Reminiscent of Company Flow's hard-edged instrumentals, this progression is immediately evident, with "Mercy" and recent B-side "Ghosst" opening proceedings in a visceral grid of slamming percussion. The tempo soon eases with the industrious soul of "Weighing Me Down," while "The Well" almost constitutes a cross pollination of The Neptunes' brand of neo-funk and Demdike Stare's A/V scores. "Dead Dogs," "I Better" and the muscular single "Ghosst(s)" all mark further highpoints, with the ethereal swirl of "Chhurch" being particularly immersive.
In a short space of time and arguably, in part owing to Ellison, Lorn has established himself as a closely-watched and respected glitch-hop player. Ask The Dust largely justifies this newfound status. In addition to its moments of sledgehammer impact, those in possession of a decent sound system with the patience to study the meticulous intricacies involved, will be duly rewarded. Its obfuscating mires of navel-gazing perhaps precludes it from attaining Ninja Tune classic status, but those of a darker disposition will likely be of the opinion this challenging opus collates Ortega's strongest work to date.