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Levitate

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Album Review

Whether he's crafting rough, abstract hip-hop or sunny, playful house tracks, British producer Lone is always responsible for colorful, awe-inspiring, highly enjoyable music. Starting with 2010's sublime Emerald Fantasy Tracks, much of his work has drawn inspiration from the sunny side of early-'90s house and rave music, echoing the shimmering, cerebral melodies of artists like 808 State and Orbital, as well as the giddy headrush of breakbeat hardcore acts like Acen and Foul Play. On 2016's Levitate, Lone focuses on hardcore and jungle influences, pushing the breaks into higher BPMs than his previous releases ever dared. As with his prior recordings, he doesn't try to faithfully re-create the unpolished, banged-out-on-cheap-gear feel of the early rave era. These tracks are much more polished, glossy, and lush, and they burst with vivid details. His heavily rose-tinted vision of rave is devoid of cartoonish samples or diva vocals, or the gangsta posturing of early jungle, instead focusing on choppy, shuffling drums and euphoric melodies. Tracks like the utterly exciting "Alpha Wheel" and "Triple Helix" feature heavy, lightspeed breakbeats and downright cheerful synths. At one point, "Triple Helix" seems to riff on the melody from Orbital's "Lush," and there's that "do it now" sample from countless old-school rave tracks. "Sea of Tranquility" starts out calm and pensive before launching into smashed-up breakbeats and lacing the rhythm with well-timed astronaut samples. As headstrong as the album is, there are still plenty of moments for reflection and breath-catching, such as drifting interludes "The Morning Birds" and "Breeze Out," while the gorgeous finale, "Hiraeth," shows that Lone's take on ambient music is just as sweet and blissful as his dance tracks. Lone's catalog is so consistently excellent that it seems virtually bulletproof, but Levitate still manages to stand out as one of his best albums.

Customer Reviews

LONE BACK AGAIN

Lone is basically hyper-listenable Aphex. Buy it and enjoy your summer

Biography

Born: England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

The primary alias of Nottingham, England native Matt Cutler, Lone debuted in 2007 with a CD-R, Everything Is Changing Colour. A series of 2008 and 2009 releases -- Lemurian (Dealmaker), Cluster Dreams (Dealmaker), Ecstasy & Friends (Werk Discs), and Joyreel (Werk Discs) -- positioned Cutler's project as something of a midpoint between admitted inspirations Madlib and Boards of Canada, as the producer combined off-center hip-hop beats with wistful, dreamlike layers and melodies. While some tracks...
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Levitate, Lone
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