R & S
The rebooted R&S has piqued debates for some time now with several of its ‘bass’ & ‘post-dubstep’ releases leaving many feeling underwhelmed. Hailing from Nottingham, Matt ‘Lone’ Cutler returns with his second release on R&S and while it features many of the elements that make up the aforementioned genres, it is enthused with the spirit of rave that was such a mainstay of the label’s first incarnation. However, while Cutler has carved an album that will delight some, it will continue the apathy that the label has induced in most.
Lone’s music has always had a synaesthetic aspect to it with tracks appearing to be drenched in a neon palette that’s reflected in the LP’s cover and it’s an approach that’s continued with gusto on ‘Galaxy Garden’. Titles like ‘New Colour’, ‘Raindance’ & ‘Crystal Caverns 1991’ are pretty indicative of the vibe Cutler has pursued with the latter being a particularly noisy rave-like affair that’s propelled by a thunderous sub-bass and is the choice cut on offer.
Machinedrum pops up twice but to little discernible difference; ‘As a Child’ displays a bit more expansiveness in the percussion but features little else to distinguish itself with a lazy vocal compounding matters. ‘Cthulthu’ on the other hand is on a faintly drum & bass tip before another languid vocal comes in. I can only presume Machinedrum has provided said vocals to these tracks as they display little of the idiosyncrasies that drew exaltations on Travis Stewart’s recent releases on Planet Mu and LuckyMe.
Closing track ‘Spirals’ featuring Anneka on vocals is a pleasant enough cut but is unlikely to reward those that stick out the album to listen to it. In fairness, the vocal could have been extracted from any number of ads featuring a gently cooing girl but it’s the more reserved production that appeals here with ‘those’ chiming keys reined in, much to the song’s overall benefit.
For an artist who burst into consciousness with the rave throwback ‘Pineapple Crush’ before swiftly following that up with the mature and thoughtful ‘Emerald Fantasy Tracks’, Cutler has done something much worse than losing his way - he’s stood still. There are plenty of producers out there who have their ‘sound’ tied down but when Cutler’s production operates in a realm that’s precariously close to novelty, it grates over the length of an LP. His tendency to crowbar a multiplicity of ideas into each song means sounds and segments fight for attention, resulting in a piece that appears blunted and impotent and completely at odds to the producer’s original intention.
There’s certainly nothing abhorrent about ‘Galaxy Garden’ to a neophyte to Cutler’s music but to those that have sought out & enjoyed his music before, this album brings with it an air of disappointment. If this is a galaxy garden, I’ll stick with my own backyard thank you very much.