Review Summary: Matt Cutler takes his sound a step further, not only fixing old problems but sharpening his image to a brand new level.
The underground music scene is constantly rotating its myriad upstarts and wannabes, some artists develop to mainstream success, while others collapse entirely. Then there are those who stay "underground" for a while, neither hitting a major label or calling it quits (or declining in quality for that matter). This is the case of Lone, and its really sad to see so much unnoticed musical artistry. Lone is a one-man electronic project consisting of Matthew Cutler, who has been making music under the alias Lone since 2007. His sound is hard to describe, something like very robust, pitchy and psychedelic pseudo-hip hop, and he sticks out like a sore thumb among the underground artists because of his vastly original style. Lone doesn't break new ground, but what Lone does is extremely different and enjoyable. His fourth full-length album sees Cutler define his sound to its richest yet, and Emerald Fantasy Tracks
is a thoroughly interesting experience.
This album carries a very sedative, soothing tone across lush, spirited beats and instrumentals. Second track "Aquamarine" illustrates this perfectly as it feels very sultry and relaxed while being one of Emerald Fantasy Tracks
's more energetic songs. There's also a tropical air found here similar to Lone's 2008 album Lemurian
and it's put to good use. "Moon Beam Harp", "Rissotowe_4" and "Petrcane Beach Track", along with "Aquamarine", all impart relaxing shoreside sensations that wouldn't feel out of place accompanying a Sandals resort commercial. "Petrcane Beach Track" is an especially gentle song that sparkles and glitters away with a feel-good vibe pulsing throughout, and "Rissotowe_4" follows a similar path as Coldplay
's "Life In Technicolor", all the while staying unique, to make one of the catchiest tracks on the record. Luckily, the tropical catchiness can be found fluently everywhere else which is what gives Emerald Fantasy Tracks
its dreamy allure.
There are no vocals to speak of, but Cutler's instrumentation has taken a step up from last year's Ecstasy & Friends
. Emerald Fantasy Tracks
was released on Cutler's own record label, Magic Wire. Whereas Ecstasy
felt more dry and retrospective, Emerald
sounds more abundantly rich and crafty. Album opener "Cloud 909" is the immediate highlight, using snazzy computer sounds and brilliant percussion (segmented into 2 smoothly-shifting parts), and it stands out as a large increment of talent for Cutler. Compared to Lemurian
, he has managed to deviate this album from his 2008 release going back to his tropical, beach resort-type sound, yet took notes from Ecstasy
and drops some of the hip-hop influence. His songs this time around are more compressed and fleshed-out, more deep and singularly satisfying, as there are less tracks but they are a bit longer, the average song length being a good 5:00. Ultimately, the result is a much more breezy, less fuzzy album that takes a step closer to mainstream music.
Lone has a lot going for him on Emerald
, further defining the rock-solid uniqueness he already established 2 albums ago. There's one vice that smudges some of the individuality he's built between each track, and that is some repetitive percussion. Giving this album a full listen, you may notice the clapping Lone uses to metronome his songs together begins to sound similar, in both rhythm and tempo. This doesn't hurt the album too bad, but when "Petrycane Beach Track" cracks open a rhythm similar to the one heard back on "Aquamarine", "Moon Beam Harp", and "Re-Schooling", some of the variety gets tainted. Luckily Emerald Fantasy Tracks
has enough going on to cover that up, and it's not immediately noticeably or flamboyant. This album as a whole flows great, packs style and substance within every track, and evokes sentimental daydreaming unlike any other electronic artist could. Emerald Fantasy Tracks
is Lone's best to date and one of the more unique underground electronic artists out there, so if you haven't heard this yet, I highly recommend it to someone looking for something special.