Lone :: Lemurian Re-Issue (R&S / Magic Wire)

Layering samples on old tape and making music on all manner of quaintly out-of-date appurtenances—one of the many musical children to which Boards of Canada have a right—both collections spin the radio dial and spray acrylic color all over the place.

Lone :: Lemurian

Lemurian, the 2008 debut album as Lone by Matt Cutler (now re-mastered by Matt Colton), is a mosaic made of fragments of smashed memories and souvenirs brought home from Polynesian idylls. Postcards of hula girls and tiki huts, lacquered conch shells, colorful umbrellas in colorful tall glasses, filter-cooled Embassy cigarettes put out in the warm sand next to the beach towel. New artwork (so much better than the old artwork) by the lucidly dreamy Konx-om-Pax, adorns its cover, complementary to his design for Lone´s newest work, Reality Testing.

Layering samples on old tape and making music on all manner of quaintly out-of-date appurtenances—one of the many musical children to which Boards of Canada have a right—both collections spin the radio dial and spray acrylic color all over the place. Reality Testing certainly has a more northerly, urban feel, but Cutler brooks inclement weather with ravey and melodic fleece set to Chicago, Detroit and South London’s sunshiniest rhythms. Sesame Street for grown-ups, Good Humor vans dispensing R&B swirlies, a rainbow settling on the banks up a lazy river. Succinct pieces, each moment a bubble that will burst shortly but brings back good feelings, creates its own. And then you step back and take in the whole, and a fully-formed downtempo psychedelism comes into perfect focus.

For it is the ambient flow that is the undertow pulling you all the way down. And on Lemurian, that flow is deep, warm and horizonless. Salt climbs through the nostrils and the sea holds your heels. With his synth, Lone brings out the tropical colors in faded Polaroids of vacation luxury made accessible by wide-bodied Pan Am and BOAC jet flight packages, air that caresses rather than blasts, parrot jungles and phthalo blue lagoons. Even if you only saw it on TV.

Lemurian recodes what we used to dream of, coral reef chorales and sweet pineapple song lazily time signatured, rich and fattening. For those who can’t get away, he takes us running barefoot through a city park with romantic skyscrapers surrounding us. Loose and comfortable as a pair of Bermuda shorts. Smearing the entire postwar period out of the twentieth century, into the millennium, there are more than a few wisps of vaporwave, but for all its possible nostalgic connotations, there is no gushy stuff here, nor a single ironic smirk. A joyful sound. Music, to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, that laughs in flowers.

Lemurian is available on R&S / Magic Wire.

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