More so than a lot of other electronic music producers, Matt Cutler’s work as Lone has matured, fractured and diversified since the 2008 release of his Lemurian album on Nottingham label, Dealmaker Records. He’s seemingly found inspiration in different worlds, playing around with different tempos, statements and moods but his music has consistently retained his own vibrant sense of haze and colour – and honestly, that’s a fucking amazing thing to consider when other producers are hopping trends under numerous names or starting new projects for the sake of a new approach or drum pattern. And that’s the first thing I learned after listening to a disseminating his new record:
1) Lone isn’t a try-hard but that’s not to say he’s not trying hard
After all, being a guy that jumps from style to style isn’t always a case of just throwing shit at a wall to see what sticks. If you can apply a similar set of principles, key sounds or approaches to your array and have everything sound perfectly like ‘you’, then do it. Lone making sense out of the flow of his record makes those transitions gilded, feeling smooth and buttery.
2) Instrumental hip hop might well be [becoming] cool again
Even the most ardent of techno heads have been using their outdoor voices on twitter to comment on how nice it is to hear ‘summer music’ again when talking about Reality Testing. I mean, shit, where was the world when TUFO’s last cassette dropped? Me? I was probably walking home alongside a river dictating verse poems to Siri line by line because I always did want to be a member of cLOUDDEAD. But really though, I like to think the previous is a comment on the accessibility of the relaxed pace Lone uses – something he’s always excelled at – and in combining that with his fluorescent array of synth textures he’s made something that’s quite uniquely and broadly palatable.
3) R&S has an exceptional pull/Presentation is everything
I don’t know if anyone has ever really sat down and done the maths to work out the fraction properly but a high percentage of success is in the presentation. And that’s something that a label with a heritage as strong as R&S’ can really nail. A lot of instrumental hip hop records seems to have to sprout up between the gaps left by bigger independent labels (like Lone did on his own Magic Wire label and on Werk Discs before Actress was everything to all men in a black tee) but R&S have readily afforded Cutler the space to explore a few of his guises.
As a direct result there are definitely welcome shadows of his previous work casting themselves large and loud across Lone’s new record but the real majesty of Reality Testing comes in his deployment of his switches. Simply put, kicking up gears affords him the chance to change back down again and that yields tracks like ‘Cutched Under’ which ends the album in a glory and something of a dream state – something that Cutler’s already discussed as a sort of pseudo-theme for the album.
Lone’s Reality Testing is really good and it’s out now on R&S.
Buy at Bleep.