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Matt Cutler (a.k.a Lone) is back with his fifth full length LP. 2012’s ‘Galaxy Garden’ seriously blew me away with it’s technicolour production and lush melodies so there’s been some anticipation in my mind in regard to ‘Reality Testing’. Lead off single, the reassuringly kick-ass ‘Airglow Fires’, kept the momentum going between the two LP’s and the cheeky booty beat at the end of the track implied an allegiance between Cutler’s recent patented house productions and his lifelong affection for hip-hop breaks as heard on the earlier outings ‘Ecstasy & Friends’ and ‘Everything Is Changing Colour’.
Cutler has definitely gone full circle here, bouncing his current production techniques off of his love for all things breakworthy with immensely satisfying results. Cutler has quoted Boards Of Canada and Madlib as his primary influences and you’ve got admired his ability merge elements of both styles whilst bringing his own flavour to the mix. Sonically it’s not dissimilar to ‘Galaxy Garden’ in terms of palette (plenty of twinkly vibes, soft pads and soothing vocal samples, warm almost inaudible low end, fluttering percussion and light as a feather hats etc) but the vibe is a less hectic with a blissful West Coast feel permeating throughout.
So, not as immediate as ‘Galaxy Garden’ but give it time and the rewards are there, especially if you’re in no rush to jump out of your seat and hit the dancefloor. You take it easy, and I don’t mean crappy chillout room easy, I mean life-affirming summers afternoon in the park with your besties easy.
9/10 Andrew Hickford 17th June 2014
This really is a superb album. To be honest it would be worth having for the track 'Airglow Fires' alone, Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards track of the year for 2013. Howevr, you may already have that, so why else shojld you buy this? Well I'll start with the remaining 11 tracks, all of which stand up to Airglow Fires. Lone really has mastered this fusion of techno with hip hop sensibilities aligned with deep house vibes. If that sounds like it might be a bit of a mess, it could be, however in the hands of Matt Cutler this feels a lot smoother (in a good way) than it would be in the hands of a less sure handed producer.
Tracks like Aurora Northern Quarter and Restless City manage to be both ideal headphone listening and would work well in a club. They are really evocative of big city nights, somehow exciting, reassuring but also with a slight hint of melancholy or even a touch of danger at times.
Other reasons to buy? Well 12 tracks of sheer brilliance should do it, but if you want more, why not be seduced by the lovely yellow vinyl version only available via indie stores? You get a DL too! Fans of Four Tet, Falty DL and Martyn should really be checking this out.
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- Reality Testing by Lone
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