Lone LoneEmerald Fantasy Tracks
Come on, all of us like to kick back when the pressure’s on, get a few drinks inside us, head out with friends and dance like our life depended on it. It’s got to be done. I recommend it. Especially during periods of stress and mental pressure, or simply when you’re fed up with humanity. Matt Cutler knows this. This is why after serving up some of the best slow beats of recent years—the masterful “Ecstasy & Friends”– he has decided to distance himself from the psychedelic liturgy of his fairy hip hop and give a nod to the raver ghosts that are still dragging their chains around the industrial factories where wild raves were held. This change was already noticeable in the 12” “Once in a While” and “Pineapple Crush”, released this year, and now we can finally see his shift towards the up tempo in an album that is destined to head the lists of the best of the year.
Released on his own label, Magic Wire, “Emerald Fantasy Tracks” is a shapeless, semi-vaporous mass of house, techno and rave euphoria that the Nottingham producer shapes on his digital wheel as if it were hallucinogenic clay. The magical touch continues to be the same as his more hip hop constructions –whiffs of ambient, waves of IDM, Martian psychedelics, melancholy punctures, 90’s video console glitter– but this time the bpm’s are head for your feet, not your head. Lone is one of the names to be followed with a very close eye: with this exciting album he has managed to forge an apparently revival, but very fresh album, impossibly bringing together time lines that drink from the past to reinvent the future. The electro-hippy spirit of an electronic summer of love overlaps with more futuristic experimentation without a safety net; the classic Chicago sound blends with danceable rhythms that seem to have been taken from the radio cassette player of a spaceship; and the adolescent ingenuousness of early rave music throbs underneath a carpet of adult electronic that can also be enjoyed in an armchair, with a pipe and a glass of brandy in hand. Cuttler’s path takes some hairpin turns that very few drivers of the digital era would dare to follow. He is a unique alchemist. Recognisable. He is so inspired that he makes many producers with a greater tradition of house and club beats look bad.
In this atmospheric marshland of danceable surging, we find eight pieces that should be admired from behind the glass of a display case. “Cloud 909” is like mixing early Prodigy– what 90’s synthesisers, oh my God!– with Boards of Canada and the soundtrack of the first “Sonic the Hedgehog” for Megadrive. In “Ultramarine” he covers a rustling house skeleton with some dreamy, landscape keyboards that have the flavour of prehistoric intelligent techno. They are the same synthesisers that float over “Re-Schooling”, three minutes of rave nostalgia that are amazing for their freshness, unclassifiable pedigree, and depth—the far-off voices are definitive. The best moments, without a doubt, are those in which he leaves the deepest mark with his signs of identity. The most diaphanous example is “Petrcane Beach Track”, which oozes those child-like, magical, trippy atmospheres that characterise his kaleidoscopic universe: the retro beat box, the stew of dizzying synthesisers, the bells ringing in the background, the pupils of your eyes made into black holes of synthetic happiness. This is the same feeling of radical evasion and melancholy happiness that “The Birds Don’t Fly this High” describes, possibly the cut that best suits the exquisite image on the cover. Because “Emerald Fantasy Tracks” is the caress of a wave at dusk. A night of perfect partying that you relive while you are trying to get to sleep. A utopian society of ecstasy and friends. Hypnagogue pop? Make way for hypnagogue house. From the rave to the grave.
Lone - The Birds Don’y Fly This High