Snap Sounds: Lone

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Lone
Galaxy Garden
(R&S)

Matt Cutler's back catalogue as Lone is the sonic equivalent of cotton candy: lush and ethereal to the point of cheapness, with little in the way of tension or dynamic range to keep it in check. While this aesthetic has yielded some (insanely) enjoyable results, one couldn't help but long for something more substantial from the British beatmaker. Lone addresses that concern substantially on his fourth LP, Galaxy Garden, which finds him developing his brand of electronica like never before.

"As a Child" and "Cthulhu", the two collaborations with NYC's Machinedrum, indicate just how far Lone has come since 2010's Emerald Fantasy Tracks. The sparse, offbeat, J Dilla-ish drum loops are swapped out for generously layered, and frantically syncopated percussion; the addition of vocals (namely on closing track "Spirals") gives the songs an increased sense of propulsion; the bright, glossy synth melodies, while front-and-center as ever, are tinted with a sense of melancholy, lending them a satisfying weight.

While Lone's previous work amounted to little more than pleasant fluff, Galaxy Garden gives the listener something to chew on.

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