Over the past couple of years, Manchester-based producer Lone (a.k.a. Matt Cutler) has become a fully fledged reinvention of his former self. Leaving behind the hip-hop seasoned abstraction and hazy beatscapes of his notable Ecstasy & Friends and Lemurian albums for a quicker-paced sound that draws on a much heavier Chicago house / Detroit Techno and early 90’s London rave/hardcore sound. With his last album proper Emerald Fantasy Tracks & last year’s R&S debut Coreshine Voodoo, we saw a honing of these styles. Continuing his ethereal journey through space and time where these previous two outings left off, new album Galaxy Garden – that you will hopefully have in your ears right now – is without doubt his most complete body of work to date.
The varied excursions on display unearth new corners to the wunderkind, whilst maintaining his signature sound and cinematic overtones. Opener New Colour lays down the album’s mandate with layers of symbiotic sound-scapes. On into The Animal Pattern, a rolling 8-bit bastardisation where visions of Out Run’s Splash Wave come flooding back again. Nomrex label head machine drum makes an appearance on two tracks adding his hazy vocals to As A Child & Cthulhu. The latter evolving into a mid tempo broken roller with key stabs which wouldn’t sound out of place on a Japan record.
Thing of beauty, Lying in the Reeds finds Cutler in one of his more melodic, melancholic and reflective moods. This gives way to the ambient drone of Dragon Blue Eyes and through to Crystal Caverns 91; revival stabs, hardcore remnants, a frenetic cadence and we’re already half way through the album. Two uptempo, blissed out stuttered motion bangers – proceed in the form of Raindance & Dream & Girl/Sky Surfer. It’s Raindance and the incredible Earth’s Lungs where he wears his love of Aphex Twin and Warp most prominently, all the time maintaining a very Lone take on it. The album closes this Lone chapter with vocalist Anneka – who’s worked with the likes of Falty DL, Starkey, Ital Tek, Vex’d – and the track Spirals, which is the closest you’ll get to Cutler writing a pop song.