Lone
Galaxy Garden


3.5
great

Review

by Deviant STAFF
May 9th, 2012 | 69 replies | 10,633 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While Galaxy Garden finds Lone finally giving in to his inhibitions, this new facet of his identity ends up coming at a price

Depending on what side of the fence you land on, you’ve either applauded or decried Lone’s (a.k.a. Matt Cutler)efforts to simply refine his sound rather than stretching his hazy palette beyond the sundrenched borders he’s paraded in since Everything Is Changing Colour dropped back in 2007. And while five albums in six years is indicative enough of Cutler’s dedication to his craft, the almost insistent nature of his release schedule has dictated the lack of capriciousness in his work. He’s subtly, and even deftly, maneuvered his way through smeary and textural-heavy acid house, a brief nod to the abrasive thump of hip hop here, a casual glance at late-90s breaks there; but while the charm of his productions has always provided Lone with success he’s never been one to dip his toes into foreign waters. While his music has always appeared breezy and decidedly carefree, it has still masked a strict diligence, an unbreakable structure that’s conversely seen Cutler’s music occupy as much space on the dancefloor as it has lighting up beach front property as the sun dips below the horizon. Which makes Galaxy Garden appear as even more than just the proverbial breath of fresh air that it is; while Cutler’s trademarks are still very much in effect (at no point here are you ever lead astray from the fact that you are listening to Lone material), his stockade of rigid uniformity, his leaden lines are now melted, coagulating in a pool of technicolor effervescence.

Perhaps it’s Lone’s relocation to R & S Records that’s invigorated this sense of elasticity in his work, this desire to, cheekily, color far outside the lines of his own creations. The smudgy, sepia-toned nostalgia of Emerald Fantasy Tracks’ playground has since been given an overhaul; his reflective VHS strings and video-game tropes updated, his palm trees uprooted and sent off into distant orbit. The trick though, is that Galaxy Garden isn’t a complete reassessment of Cutler’s identity, there’s still more than enough tried-and-tested truisms kicking around that stop the album from being the giant leap that Lone had earlier hinted at. As an act of progression, of furthering the ride, does Cutler map out Galaxy Garden as the proverbial eclectic journey that it seemingly has been inspired by. Both ‘New Colour’ and ‘Animal Pattern’ play out in the fashion we’ve come to expect from Lone: teary-eyed wonky synths are juxtaposed against oddball syncopated percussion; two wholly separate yet intrinsic elements that are unraveled at different speeds, slowly winding down to their inevitable encounter. What begins initially as a paradox soon finds itself melding vibrantly into one clear-cut identity. As an introduction for Cutler’s efforts to defy the boundaries he’s held onto for so long, Galaxy Garden certainly doesn’t shy away from drawing parallels and emotive gestures to the artist’s past.

This is by no means a terrible thing, to provide the listener with some kind of reference point, be it obvious infringement on earlier territory or simply another hand-cranked melody that borrows from its rich past. But when appropriated into this clearly more flamboyant persona of Lone it becomes hard not to question some of the choices made here. There’s nothing on the album that borders on being truly hostile, but Cutler is certainly operating at his most insistent and forceful here. This unfortunately creates paradoxes though: the shimmering and dizzying anthem of ‘Lying In The Reeds’ paired with the breakneck velocity of ‘Crystal Caverns 1991’ makes for a rather grand yet frighteningly abrupt transition (the calming interlude of ‘Dragon Blues Eyes’ only heightens the distance). And it’s on ‘Crystal Caverns 1991’ where Lone finally decides to get his hands dirty; while the Machinedrum-assisted ‘As A Child’ doles out its misfiring lasers in a clear show of unhinged bravado, it’s here where Cutler wholly applies himself as a dancefloor shaman. Yet another contradiction, it pulls the listener in with a false sense of security before scissor-cutting its way through painfully assembled acid rave synths and a galloping percussion line of breakbeat ferocity. He delves back into this warehouse rave allure with ‘Earth’s Lungs’, which interestingly begins with the kind of dusty paranoia of Actress at his most indisposed before it jettisons the minimal grandeur of mystique for the kind of unhinged vacuum-bass distortions that one wouldn’t normally associate with such an artist. It’s a leftfield entry for Cutler, and while surprising it’s also hardly memorable outside of its questionable authenticity.

It’s in these moments of pure unbridled showmanship that stick out the most not simply because of their justifiably intrusive nature, but by comparison do the rest of the tracks here come off as simply too polite. ‘As A Child’, while clearly knocking boots with footwork and that whole field of jittery percussion and stammering harmonies, also adds in acoustic strings and distant folksy ramblings that, quite literally, stop the beat dead in its tracks. ‘Raindance’, as an evolution of ‘Crystal Caverns 1991’, boils down the twisted angles and big room excitement into a sprightly j-pop-like version of its predecessor, that while interesting to the point of cursory examination is strangely dull and lifeless despite its kaleidoscopic reflective surface. ‘Cthulhu’ fares better, but as the only straight line in a sea of twists and turns, it’s hard not to view it as the black sheep of the album. It feels almost incomplete, a working sketch awaiting spare parts, in the interim still forced to dress up and be paraded around. It feels hollow, a composition of beat and echo that might have worked as a welcome resting point if not for the Anneka-assisted ‘Spirals’ that it precedes. As a final remark, ‘Spirals’ also suffers from a sense of flatness, of being spread just a little too thin. As a kind of working pop-house anecdote, it suffers with its lack of raw energy, the proverbial bite replaced by sultry and dulcet tones and the pitter-patter of handmade percussion. Given the manic nature of the album it closes, it comes off as a cheap way to finish, a cut-off or severing of ties, when those connections would have been better served all tied into one.

So while Galaxy Garden sees Lone finally committing to that all-important “next step” it’s hardly the revolution previously alluded to. It’s a refreshing yet sweltering collection of acid rave and breakbeat conundrums, all held in check by Lone’s perfectionist qualities, but despite the upheaval Lone’s latest LP fires on all cylinders only when he chooses to hold onto that which has served him well in the past. The calm ferocity of Machinedrum’s Room(s), while a noted influence, only ends up sending Lone off into tangents better served for other producers. This facilitation, or need to explore sadly comes at a price; Galaxy Garden as a whole suffers from being pulled in one too many directions; it’s the individual moments, the sounds in between the noise that end up benefiting from the most attention.



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user ratings (88)
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3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2012



30316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Crystal Caverns 1991: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO_Qm7s_mBY
Cthulhu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITjKsz1Olq0
Earth's Lungs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FixSE3ZA3GM

Digging: L'Orange - The Orchid Days

Rev
May 9th 2012



9298 Comments


fantastic review, as per usual dev


I downloaded a leak a while back, but the bitrate was so bad I refused to listen to it

Crystal Castles 1991 rules so hard though

tadowmusic
May 9th 2012



24 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Love the album..4.5/5 for me..cant stop listening to it..good review

Jash
May 9th 2012



4243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Spun this a few times still don't know what to rate it. I read a really good interview with him the other day, pretty interesting guy

gaslightanthem
May 9th 2012



5209 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

rly liked thios

Thanntos
May 9th 2012



309 Comments


This is more annoying than good tbh.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2012



4339 Comments


The artwork really attracted me. Good review, by the way. I was listening to some of the tracks on youtube, it has a such a dreamy landscape.

WashboardSuds
May 9th 2012



4889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

while Cutler’s trademarks are still very much in effect (at no point here are you ever lead astray from the fact that you are listening to Lone material), his stockade of rigid uniformity, his leaden lines are now melted, coagulating in a pool of technicolor effervescence.


this description is awesome.

great review Dev (damn you for beating me to it), but I'm sad you didn't talk about Dream Girl, which is one of the best songs he's ever made.

I think this album's sound is great but it doesn't cover new enough ground, if you know what I mean.

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins

Rev
May 9th 2012



9298 Comments


i'm bummed because now I have to find a mac friendly media player that plays FLAC, since I couldn't get a V0 version because what.cd downloads aren't working for me ):

pizzamachine
May 9th 2012



12568 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love this album, probably my favourite from Lone. Nice review!

TheAshes
May 9th 2012



73 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah this is killer, but Emerald Fantasy tracks is still the best by a lot. Nice review too, Deviant.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
May 9th 2012



6943 Comments


I just heard "Coreshine Voodoo" by him the other day off that IOTDXI comp for the first time and loved it, I'll prob give this a listen but I wasn't too big on his earlier albums, been awhile since I listened to those though.

Digging: Strict Face - Fountains/Highbury Skyline

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 9th 2012



30316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

But I think this is great as well

MaskAtTheMasquerade
May 10th 2012



2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review Dev,

im just a huge sucker for some Lone

Rev
May 10th 2012



9298 Comments


man I can't find a link for this that's not FLAC, and I don't have the patience to convert it

WashboardSuds
May 10th 2012



4889 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

your Recommended by reviewer list is great, by the way. all great stuff

DoubtGin
May 10th 2012



6687 Comments


some very good songs, but also lots of filler

but dude you have to review the new Shackleton

Dreyvas
May 10th 2012



8 Comments


Good review. I agree, while this material is good, it doesn't compare to the likes of Lemurian or Ecstasy.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2012



30316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wonder how long your parents tried before giving up on you

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
May 11th 2012



30316 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

About as well as life seems to be going for you



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