Lone: Reality Testing (R&S, 2014)

June 13, 2014 at 10:00 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Lone: Reality Testing

Lone: Reality Testing

Ever since 2010’s astounding Emerald Fantasy Tracks, Lone has been creating a grin-inducing sort of dance music reminiscent of 808 State at their most sunny and tropical (“Pacific”, “Plan 9”), Orbital at their most chiming (“Chime” of course), and Underground Resistance in their more deep-house mode (Galaxy 2 Galaxy). In 2011, Lone found a natural home at R&S Records, who have released far too many golden classic dance records than I have time to even start listing here. Reality Testing is another album of positive, timeless dance music, influenced by ’90s British and Detroit techno at its most warm and melodic, but there’s also several excursions into dusty, downtempo instrumental hip-hop, in line with Lone’s earlier material. The styles cross-pollinate, however, with Mike Paradinas-like melodies threading through the dusty hip-hop bounce of “2 Is 8”, or the samples speaking of “reality real” during the broken-beat shuffle of “Restless City”. The classy house groove of “Airglow Fires” even has a Dilla-esque coda before the next track “Coincidences” begins, and flips a similar synth sound from the previous track to a mellower hip-hop rhythm. The album feels a bit like a battle between two personalities, and it’s hard to say which one wins out because he’s just so good at both. The album’s last few tracks see a few clouds start to block the sun, with some slightly more growling synths creeping into “Vengeance Video”. Then “Stuck” is a subdued ambient piece with a distressing looped sample about a man who loses everything; “everything is so fucked up, I can’t begin to begin.” “Cutched Under” ends the album with more of a blue tone than usual for his tracks, with ghostly vocals and nightfallen synth pads. Not the most cohesive or consistent Lone album, but the music is still definitely way above average.

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