There’s something nice about reunions, and the return of Mathew Jonson to one of the labels that helped him get out there is, in a way, a form of justice. In 2004, when the Canadian was still producing music for the now defunct Itiswhatitis label and his own, recently founded Wagon Repair imprint, he gave Richie Hawtin the two tremendous tracks of the 12” “Decompression / Ultraviolet Dream” for the “Minimize to Maximize” compilation, two tracks that were, at the time, the perfect examples of the “Jonson sound”: elements from techno, trance and electro in long, winding pieces, a sound he would later fine-tune on absolute classics like “Marionette”. Seven years later, Jonson has given Hawtin new material. The prodigal son returns to Minus, and he does it, reinforcing a sound that has changed little over the years: the evolution over the course of ten plus minutes of a deforming and elastic kind of techno. Effectively, “Learning To Fly” follows the same pattern as “Marionette” – you know how it starts, but you don’t know how it will end.
There’s only one flaw on this new Jonson 12”: side A and side B are essentially identical. On the flipside we find a dub version of “Learning To Fly”, tougher and darker than the original. The A-side would be for dawn, the B-side for nightfall. No other tracks, no interludes or remixes. One could say it’s a stingy record. But it’s not that, either: “Learning To Fly” is an instant anthem, it draws your attention from the start and settles in your memory as soon as it begins, and for the DJs who look for a moment of “losing oneself in sound”, it’s a fundamental piece. The problem would be the record wearing out because of people playing it so much, but have we grown tired of “Marionette”? I don’t think so, and it’s been over five years. So carpe diem, burn that groove and tomorrow’s another day.