Review Summary: Everything IS changing colour, dammit!
Waiting in his parents’ car as a wee Nottingham lad, curious little Matt Cutler found some cassettes lying around the dashboard and decided to play them in the car stereo. He was amused by what he heard: the cassettes were warped and ruined from sitting out exposed to the sun, and while they still played fine, they certainly sounded different from any music his parents ever played before. This glorious youthful discovery and his adoration of Scottish IDM duo Boards of Canada
watered the soils that would later sprout his underground musical career as Lone. If you listen to his work today, Lone probably doesn’t sound like the same person inspired by sun-baked tapes, and you may even be missing his influential Lemurian
tracks, but nostalgic tones and skewed pitches are still naively the leading light for Everything is Changing Colour
. It’s quite different from anything he’s done afterwards, but his debut is just as mystical and entrancing as the rest of his discography.
You ever see chocolate milk that hasn’t been stirred all the way? That’s Everything is Changing Colour
, a melting pot that hasn’t been fully blended into what’s now Cutler’s definitive sound. In other words, his assorted influences are pretty obvious, especially that of Boards of Canada. “My Eye” sounds like a jazzy ballad straight out of The Campfire Headphase
, and “Proper Vivid” even borders Chris Clark
territory. Faint melancholy and darkness fills the album’s edges, something quite foreign to his upbeat 90’s rave stylings of today. “Missing Persons” and “A Quadruple Sky” show that Cutler is well-rounded with darker elements, and along with “Number Station” and “Drifting off Too Far”, can use somber interludes effectively to create an eerie chill-out atmosphere. Some of the more upbeat tunes and trip-hop devices Cutler later utilizes are found here too, meaning this isn’t all unfamiliar territory for Lone fans.
Because of a lesser-defined identity, Everything is Changing Colour
borders “demo” territory as an album, but it’s also unsurprisingly due to raw production. Glittery synthesizers make up the melodies, and nice & scratchy hip-hop beats give off an old-school sense of percussion. Brilliantly catchy and melodic synths open the album with the breezy “Dueling Auroras”, then buzz around ominously across “Summer by Summer”’s rattling beats. There’s intentional fuzz across most of the album, and while it’s not directly a result of budget production, it still occasionally scuffs things up. “Pure White Light” and “Dueling Auroras” gradually build up into harshness and cacophony, the great melodies nearly suffocating underneath the fuzz. In the case of “A Quadruple Sky”, the production tends to blend samples together in a way that simply would have sounded more fluent less fuzzy. It benefits “Proper Vivid” and “Summer by Summer”, whose coarseness actually makes the songs sound cooler, and gives “Light from the Heart Nebula” a Boards of Canada-type hostility that makes up some of the album’s darker charisma. Across the whole album, it’s a stark contrast from the crystal-clear elation Cutler spews out now, which makes the album stand out a bit.
Lone’s psychedelic flare is present, and though it hasn’t quite peaked yet, it’s definitely part of the attraction here. The dreaminess feels less inspired by drugs and more evoked by the simple intricacies of life’s fleeting graces. “My Eye” captures the essence of nighttime strolling or ball dancing with pleasantly swaying beats and easygoing, fluffy synths. Some of the gloomier music box/piano interludes prove to be remorseful and a bit twisted, though through their simplicity reminds one of a childhood sadness. “Midnight Feast” isn’t quite danceable like a club song, but instills a retro “nothing can go wrong, I feel great” sensation that lifts the listener up into a perky, if slightly robotic, mood. Others like “Drifting off Too Far” and “Time Was A Spiral” are simply precursors to Cutler’s Lemurian
/Ecstasy & Friends
-era psychedelia. The overall mood interestingly matches up to Lemurian
’s sunrise euphoria as a pensive, “small-hours” nighttime album.
For the most part, songs are quite slow and even a bit murky. Climaxes usually appear in the form of shifting melodies or accumulating fuzz, and for better or worse, keep the dynamism of each track relatively controlled. Basically, songs are slow-paced and slightly static, which can bore some but ultimately makes the album more relaxing even in places where it’s not expected. Occasionally there are songs that drag in this case (“My Eye”,”Midnight Feast”), but getting immersed in the album’s magic is easy to do and makes some of the longer, slightly repetitive songs less of a chore. Repetition is really nothing to complain about as this is probably one of Lone’s most variable records overall. Assorted feelings of pensive leisure and daydreaming take center stage here like ensuing Lone releases, though relaxing haze and comforting darkness tie together making Everything is Changing Colour
a cohesive and eclectic debut.