Lone, Echolocations EP

[R&S Records]

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Somewhere around last year’s Pineapple Crush/Angel Brain single, Lone began adapting his wavy, paradise-obsessed technique from disfigured hip-hop to an amalgamation of early house and rave music. His most accomplished results in this style can be found on last year’s Emerald Fantasy Tracks mini LP, which streamlined his hyperactivity into something undeniably pop. Several accounts of Echolocations, his follow-up EP and first for R & S, have reported that the tracks seem like B-sides, more of the same. This may be true, but it’s also ignorant of Lone’s track record, as he tends to stick to a genre until he’s completely exhausted it. The variations are subtle and confined to individual compositions, rather than as overarching statements about “progression.”

Moreover, what’s great about Lone is that he’s stumbled upon a genre that never quite happened. R & S is a natural fit, of course, and he owes a lot to its stylized take on E music — Second Phase, Outlander, Joey Beltram, and Aphex Twin all bleed through Echolocations. But none of those producers really mastered the sort of raw Chicagoan jack that Lone employs, and maybe its his generational distance, both from rave and classic house, that makes this music so compelling. Interwoven between takes on these styles is that signature nostalgic portamento, vivid with escapist reverie.

Like his prior releases, Echolocations walks a line between dance floor and daydream. “Approaching Rainbow,” like “Ultramarine” on Emerald, is a pumping, fairly straightforward take on uptempo Chicago house, albeit with some unusually blurry sounds. “Rapid Racer” fades in and out of focus; woozily distant for most of its sustained jack, it’s harnessed by booming rave chords at the breakdown. And before launching into a bleepy melody and general percussive assault, “Blossom Quarter” contains a singular, perhaps slightly cheesy vocal hook — a child’s voice saying “safe place to play.” It’s entirely appropriate for a rave-referencing track as a classic moment of loud, youthful hesitation. And the phrase itself seems to signify the music’s remove from the idealized early 90’s. Most of these tracks are probably not going to exist in ecstatic warehouse raves, but more likely in warm mental pockets where fantasy has free reign.

m@earth  on May 6, 2011 at 7:51 AM

I think what is happening now with many of the producers is that they have the TIME now to mine the depths of what the producers and many of the labels that released the gold standard works of say pre 94 could only hint at because they were more often than not so quickly turning over what was possible in pursuit of the next new thing.

R&S with their keen eye for licensing and re-releasing many of the more forward thinking producers of that time is a natural fit for this work of re-discovery. R&S as an operation with its various sub label offshoots and branches of the 90 – 94 period is a natural fit for many of todays producers to take the time with to uncover what was left behind and not explored. If this means someone can finally mine the odd ball potential that is Synthesized Dialog. More power to them.

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