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The tipping point: it’s the time that a person, object or place reaches critical mass and everyone sits up and takes notice. Manchester-based producer Lone, aka Matt Cutler, has spent the last couple of years turning himself from an abstract hip hop producer to creator of a smoother, sweeter electronic sound that’s faster and decidedly more furious, and with 2011’s ‘Emerald Fantasy Tracks’ album he really hit the sweet spot.
Drawing on a super-melodic, emotional house/techno sound that melded the spirit of early rave with glistening production, last year’s opus only had one problem: it was too short. Further EPs and dynamic, career-defining rerubs for Radiohead, Underworld and Tensnake followed. And now comes ‘Galaxy Garden’, easily his most defining moment to date. The opening triple-salvo of ‘New Colour’ (Matt attacks classic 808 State), ‘The Animal Pattern’ (Matt attacks early Warp) and ‘As A Child’ (Matt attacks Machinedrum, both figuratively and literally) all glisten with wide-eyed, optimistic promise, the latter a stand-out thanks to a spooky vocal line and drums that SBTRKT would kill for.
Just as impressive is ‘Lying In The Reeds’, which channels Sakamoto’s ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’ to glorious effect before morphing into Cocoon classic ‘Stoppage Time’ and then returning for one last shot of ‘Christmas’. After that things take a more sombre tone (the mood of ‘Raindance’ is pure Boards Of Canada), but crucially Lone never loses his rave energy. Machinedrum returns for the chilling ‘Cthulu’ before vocalist Anneka invokes the spirit of classic Orbital on closer ‘Spirals’. Chicago, Detroit and the UK’s M25 raves all hang heavy in the clattering 808s here, yet this is a thoroughly modern record. But it’s the smart weaves in and out of expectation – the jolts, the swerves – that make it an instant classic.
File under Lone-ly summer
Download ‘New Colour’, ‘The Animal Pattern’, ‘As A Child’
Like this? Try Lone ‘Emerald Fantasy Tracks’ (Magic Wire)