Lone
Echolocations


3.5
great

Review

by Kevin K USER (56 Reviews)
April 2nd, 2011 | 19 replies | 6,071 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We get some new Lone with not enough “new” Lone

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Matt Cutler has been on this trek to manifest the sound of sun-wrecked cassettes as music. Inspired by Boards of Canada’s dreary aesthetic and old cassettes warped by exposure to the sun, Lone’s early career (and youth) saw him playing around with music trying to capture this sound as his own. With his first 3 albums, he succeeded at making the psychedelic, distorted music of his dreams, defining a unique sound of his own all the while. His sound expanded to Emerald Fantasy Tracks, a somewhat polarizing album that is both loved for its lively allure and magic, and also found bland for its repetitive yet slightly overreaching sound. I personally loved the piece, and I have nothing against Echolocations, his follow-up EP, but this makes me wonder if Lone actually might be running out of ideas when old habits die hard.

With his Echolocations EP, Cutler doesn’t make any real changes to last year’s melodies or playing style, unsurprisingly seeming like a pack of Emerald Fantasy Tracks misfits. Nothing here is bad, but as a whole the album runs together inheriting too little of Emerald Fantasy Tracks’ mojo. Even with EFT came some repetitiveness, despite it alone being magical and charming. But with an EP following in said LP’s footsteps comes a lack of inspiration, recycled ideas and not enough new direction to make it stick out. The worst of this comes from the lookalike tracks “Rapid Racers” (ala “Cloud 909”) and “Explorers” (ala “Aquamarine”), which parallel their peers far too close to stand on their own. Somehow the EP loses some of Lone’s psychedelic imagery along the way too, replacing it with more straightforward instrumentation that leaves less room for daydream evocations. This can be bad since this woolgathering trait has always been one of Cutler’s strongest suits, leaving Echolocations a bit pale and jaded compared to his other works.

While it may be a bit stale, Echolocations isn’t without its unique Matt Cutler sheen. The EP continues off Lone’s kaleidoscopic and glossy sound, most similar to that of the sound he defined on Emerald Fantasy Tracks. One example is “Explorers”, which uses a whistling undertone and a clean hip-hop beat to carry a nostalgic, beamy melody to show off the album’s sparkly production. Songs generally follow a similar trend, but Cutler maintains variety on the likes of “Coreshine Voodoo” and “Dolphins”, with the former’s tropical xylophones and the latter’s silvery, angelic strings adding some erraticism to the album’s sound.

Echolocations does certainly have its similarities to Cutler’s last LP, but some of it’s used for the better. For one thing, the album took notes from livelier tracks like “Aquamarine” to sustain an energetic tropical feel while being less relaxed and exuberant. While the songs here do have somewhat of a hypnotic sound to them (“Dolphin”), the songs here are generally active and danceable. With album opener “Coreshine Voodoo” and aptly titled “Rapid Racer”, which is one of Lone’s faster-tempo songs, Echolocations opens up to an overall more bouncy, get-up-and-go feeling. To the album’s advantage, Lone’s ingenious fusion of “relaxing” and “vigorousness” is in full force here, playing songs that one can bring to a beach party and would feel perfect for both the sunbathers and the volley-ball players. The vibe of the album is narrowed down a bit as a result, but ultimately proves that Lone reaches both ends of the “active” spectrum.

Interestingly, Lone cracks open some 8-bit melodies on “Blossom Quarter”. Cutler has never been one to show Nintendo influence in his music, but what’s here does a good job of expanding on Lone’s nostalgic tone and lifting the song in a humble, light-hearted climax. This makes “Blossom Quarter” the most dynamic track on the album and, with dragging songs being the main offender here, serves as its highlight as well. Granted the song‘s still no real advancement of his sound, one can be left curious if Cutler will expand on this 8-bit approach in the future.

Seeing as it’s only an EP, it isn’t expected to blow up in listeners’ faces with some multifaceted new work of genius, and Echolocations modestly fits those expectations: it’s just more Lone music. The disappointment comes when it restates EFT’s issues showing little signs of correcting them without even spicing his sound up a bit. Adopting the sound from EFT there are flaws and advantages, though he may be stretching out past what he originally dreamed to make with music in the end. This EP still has repetitive issues (most noticeably with percussion), and is ultimately a chip off the Emerald Fantasy Tracks block, but what’s here is still genuine Matt Cutler music, which is enough to satisfy fans of Lone. Echolocations is still a vibrant, colorful EP with sharp production and plenty to be enjoyed.



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user ratings (11)
Chart.
3.4
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
WashboardSuds
April 2nd 2011



4984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think I may have been just a wee too hard on this for an EP. Comments, constructive criticism would be helpful, thanks

Digging: Acid Bath - When the Kite String Pops

scissorlocked
April 2nd 2011



3508 Comments


ace review man, pos'd
I'm downloading his albums right now, it's about time to check this guy

Digging: John Roberts - Ausio

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2011



7143 Comments


Hey WashboardSuds; some constructive comments:

i.) not surprisingly
Say unsurprisingly instead. It's more efficient that way =)

ii.) Review reads as quite disorganized; for example: Even with EFT came some repetitiveness, despite it alone being magical and charming. But with an EP following in said LP’s footsteps comes a lack of inspiration, recycled ideas and not enough new direction to make it stick out. The worst of this comes from the lookalike tracks “Rapid Racers” (ala “Cloud 909”) and “Explorers” (ala “Aquamarine”), which parallel their peers far too close to stand on their own.

Which very abruptly transitions to Speaking of which, one can say the album is basically built off the framework of last year’s “Aquamarine”: it sustains the energetic tropical feel while being less relaxed and exuberant.

It sort of feels like you're jumping a bit around the place, you know?

iii.) Still, I think my biggest problem with this review lies in the fact that the album sounds like it should be a 2.5 - at best. You spend the bulk of your time hammering on its failures, and words of praise are sparse and far in between. Consider rehashing this review's rating or its prose; the style of delivery is all there - they just seem rather incongruent with each other.

To incentivize some edits, I'm going to neg for now. I promise to remove it if it reads better.

WashboardSuds
April 2nd 2011



4984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Scissor:thanks man, yeah you might like his stuff if you like BOC

Irving:
i.) will fix that

ii.) I actually tried harder to organize this because I found myself jotting down many of ideas in random order, a method I usually don't use. and I wasn't sure about the 'speaking of which' part myself, but I thought it would carry on talking about Aquamarine's traits since I mentioned just before. will work on that too

iii.) I wasn't sure about this either really. It's not that there isn't much good things to talk about this album but the point I was trying to make dealt more with negatives since it's positives are synonymous with his Emerald Fantasy Tracks album (which I already reviewed). But I agree there's less positives mentioned than negatives, which needs to be balanced

and thanks, I appreciate the honesty. No problem, I usually don't change reviews because I kind of like to see where I've grown in the past, but you make some good points that I should elaborate on. I'll edit it sometime tonight or tomorrow and shoutbox you when I finish so you can read it over. again thanks

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2011



7143 Comments


Excellent job. And I mean it. Some lines in this thing are beautiful (although for the life of me I'm not 100% sure if they were there before); for example: This can be bad since this woolgathering trait has always been one of Cutler’s strongest suits, leaving Echolocations a bit pale and jaded compared to his other works. Good stuff.

I'm pos-ing now. Very well done WashboardSuds. I really really appreciate honest, earnest writers like you - not afraid to ask for criticism and then act on it when they receive it. The site needs more folks like you.

And now - do accept my humble pos, and my sincere apologies for having negged this earlier. Cheers! =)

WashboardSuds
April 2nd 2011



4984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thanks a bunch Irving, that means a lot :]
I really do try my hardest, and don't worry about the neg, it did give me the needed incentive. I wouldn't have ever noticed where I messed up without your kind analysis, and I sincerely appreciate that

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 2nd 2011



30882 Comments


Can we hold hands and do trust falls now?

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Jash
April 2nd 2011



4244 Comments


close your eyes and lean back dev, i gotcha ;)

pizzamachine
April 2nd 2011



12571 Comments


youuuuu're so beeeautifuuul to meeeeeeeee

WashboardSuds
April 3rd 2011



4984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Jash proceeds to get knocked down by a falling Dev

Irving
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2011



7143 Comments


So this is probably why I'm starting to become a bit mean and cynical - Dev running around in every thread I comment in and suggesting we all hold hands LOL.

MaskAtTheMasquerade
April 13th 2011



2887 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great review Glover! totally forgot about this EP, gettin it right now!

MaskAtTheMasquerade
April 13th 2011



2887 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just finished my first play through. It's a good album but just like you stated in the review it basically sounds like an EFT clone. I'd even go as far as to say he tried remixing some of the tracks... but it was still a fun listen. I did some reading while I listened and found an interview where he talked about this release and how they were leftover tracks from his EFT sessions (which makes me feel a little better knowing he hasn't run out of ideas). He said he plans to have a lot more "heavier" tracks and then some really chilled out ones that resemble some of his older work. Should be a fresh new full length.

WashboardSuds
April 13th 2011



4984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

makes more sense if these were leftovers, but if that's the case why didn't he just release them all at once? that would have been gold I think, seeing as I felt EFT was a wee too short anyway

back to roots now huh? :] I actually like the sound of that, hopefully back to the hip-hoppier days of his first 2 records, and playing around with crafty sounds like he did on EiCC (which i think is his most underrated album), just of course without sounding so BoC sounding lol

but yeah I'm excited to see where he takes his sound next

WashboardSuds
April 13th 2011



4984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

on second thought it wouldn't have been quite gold if he fused this with EFT, because Rapid Racers and Cloud 909 on the same album would have been a catalyst for even more noticeable reptition issues

Adash
April 15th 2011



1356 Comments


Small world, was thinking of reviewing this. Good work

Is it just me or does this sound a lot more Londonesque than his previous work. Whatever that means

WashboardSuds
April 15th 2011



4984 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Londonesque? lol never heard of it.
and good to see another Lone listener. be my guest if you want to review this, pretty interested in seeing a different point of view for this

Adash
April 15th 2011



1356 Comments


aaaaah I mean taking more influence from the current London sound. Although my new future garage project will now be called Londonesque

MaskAtTheMasquerade
June 10th 2011



2887 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this dancier Lone stuff is growing on me!



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