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Album Review: Lone - Galaxy Garden

22 May 2012 | 7:53 pm | Kris Swales

The bass-heavy brew he serves up here is brimming with ideas, melodies, emotion and meaning – this is electronica for the body, but with plenty to offer the mind as well.

The coolest thing about underground electronic music circa-2012? 'Underground' is no longer a byword for ponderous noodlings aimed at the beard scratching brigade, with artists like Warp Records firebrand Rustie and now R&S Records' Lone proving bass music, future beat or whatever you want to call it can be married with stadium-sized ambition without losing its soul. So when The Animal Pattern drops rave stabs over a minimal 140bpm drum break and tribal percussion, it's more likely to have chinstrokers scurrying towards the dancefloor rather than a bomb shelter.

The man behind the Lone moniker is Manchester-based Matt Cutler, and the bass-heavy brew he serves up here is brimming with ideas, melodies, emotion and meaning – this is electronica for the body, but with plenty to offer the mind as well. As A Child, one of two collaborations with Brooklyn production gun Machinedrum, even opens with the sound of meditative flute and bubbling brook before the relaxation spell is broken with an up-tempo drum pattern that drops into lush synthtopia before taking off again.

Off the back of that, Lying In The Reeds recalls mid-'00s house classic Discopolis as it leaps between time signatures and deploys a Cantopop synth hook repurposed for good instead of cheesy, before Crystal Caverns 1991 engages the hyperdrive for an uplifting journey through the psychedelic cosmos via an early breakbeat jungle warehouse party. Even drifting atmospheric closer Spirals manages to make Anneka's moderately poppy vocal sound somewhat otherworldly.

Widescreen, technicolour, free-wheeling – they're all descriptors which Galaxy Garden wears with unabashed pride. That Lone can make such an expressionist approach sound both cohesive and not the least bit self-indulgent confirms he's a rare talent indeed.

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