Matt Cutler’s fifth Lone LP, ‘Reality Testing’, has two homes: One is in its pluggable, physical form. The other is in an alternate universe set some several thousand years in the future. Think Wipeout games, where streamlined rockets shoot through the solar system at the speed of light. Less fantastical than Fifth Element or any farfetched sci-fi flick, ‘Reality Testing’ absorbs fragments of the past to give a more accurate impression of the future. It’s Cutler’s wild imaginations being given their own space.
‘Restless City’ sums this process up best. Spoken word samples and blazing car horns are used as a bed, where elements of Detroit techno skitter in and out of the frame. Previously Lone inhabited one specific space, where his niche electronics roamed within their own borders. Here, he seems to be more willing to flick through previous decades like a flipbook that gradually unveils a vivid image.
‘2 is 8’ employs cheery Manhattan brass, while ‘Jaded’ could be mistaken for a smooth jazz backing track were it not for the off-beat percussive parts that so successfully swerve attention. When Cutler plays with the past, he does so with the other 90% of his attention looking directly ahead. The album’s strongest moments play with staples, like ‘Vengeance Video’’s flirtation with old-school house, or ‘Aurora Northern Quarter’’s 90s rave aesthetic. Every time he approaches a sound that’s already been touched upon by countless other artists, he looks to cast conventional ideas in a 22nd Century chasm. He looks so far ahead, the rest can’t keep up. It’s this technique of - true to the title - ‘Reality Testing’, that he manages to stand out as a producer constantly in front of the pack.
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