Lone, a.k.a. Matt Cutler, returns after a two-year absence to bring us his sixth album, Levitate. Strangely though, it doesn’t even feel like Lone has been around for six albums; it still feels like he’s only recently arrived on the scene.
Part of this may be due to the fact that his sound is such a timeless blend of old school aesthetics and hyper-coloured brilliance. In keeping with his well-earned style, Levitate is, like its predecessors, a fine mix of both those elements, but it goes a step further, getting a little more brazen with it.
Inspiration for the album actually came from a bed-ridden stupor, when Cutler was hearing feverish rave tunes in his head before sleeping. After he recovered, his audio-visions were further refined by driving around L.A. with some friends while listening to old jungle and hardcore albums, leaving Cutler with no real choice other than to take his own stab at it.
The result is a 34-minute time paradox: the style is identifiably ’90s, but Cutler’s penchant for slick production makes it sound very contemporary at the same time. “Alpha Wheel,” for instance, screams early drum & bass from the offset, but once the beat settles in, it becomes clear that this is modern-cut. The same could be said of other jungle-heavy tracks here, like “Backtail Was Heavy” and the sublime “Sea of Tranquility.”
The other thing that sets them apart from the cusp-of-an-era style they’re inspired by is that bright, almost childish sheen on every Lone record. Cutler has riddled these tracks with a rainbow of synth ripples, making Levitate stand out immediately as a Lone record, despite heavily harkening back to a bygone era.