Whoever wrote Roman Flügel’s Discogs entry was right when they referred to him as a “chameleon.” The man’s been behind everything from big-room club hits to whimsical, serpentine house experiments, and remains as difficult to pin down as anyone working in dance music today. Nevertheless, a Flügel release on the Dial label is a perplexing prospect because Dial doesn’t exactly do chameleonic. Nuanced as it is, the label’s roster prides itself on consistent aesthetics, generally conforming to a specific bell-laden, bluesy atmosphere. How to Spread Lies exists in a space between Flügel’s catalog and that of the label; unquestionably more lighthearted than your average Lawrence release, the EP also contains some shades of sentimentality to appease skeptical Dial fans.
The title track is a mood piece; rhythmically a fairly basic 4/4, it mainly relies upon a selection of melodic elements: with soft bass tones, somber piano and chiming bells, the orchestration is classic Dial. A portamento synth line suavely escalates from this foundation, but things don’t go much farther than rubbing against pleasure centers. The similarly jazzy “Sunny Side Up” follows, a track that’s too short to make an impact — imagine one of Move D’s 10-minute workouts truncated into under four. A laid-back minimal house structure unexpectedly breaks into jazzy keys, but they seem to start noodling almost immediately, and there’s frustratingly not enough time to follow Flügel’s intentions. “Pattern 16″ is as mechanical as its title suggests, a bleepy, tightly-wound minimal composition that may work as a tool but, though playful, provides little in the way of hooks. The EP concludes with the beatless “Pianopiano,” which has entirely the opposite effect. It’s a tender, carefully restrained slice of indietronica, and the only successfully succinct piece here. Overall, How to Spread Lies feels like it would have benefited from Flügel fleshing out its sketches beyond familiar Dial blueprints.