30.04.2012, Words by Charlie Jones

Albums of the week

Lone – ‘Galaxy Garden’ [R&S]


Everything sparkles and shines, illuminates and refracts on Lone’s fourth album, as Matt Cutler deploys an arsenal of rave sounds to evoke the innocence, love and sheer energy that defined ’90s club culture. ‘Galaxy Garden’ is an unabashed ode to the hippier, dippier side of rave, when ecstatic minds freed from their inhibitions gazed over the muddy fields and dank warehouses and saw that they were good.

It’s easy to chuckle at the innocence of the Castlemorton era, but this record takes seriously the awed reverence for nature held by the crusties and their glowing ‘tribes’, with even the track names evoking a sense of global communion (Earth’s Lungs, Raindance and even Spirals, referencing one of the sound systems that so riled the ruling classes they ended up shutting down the free party era with the Criminal Justice Act). Breakneck bongos and jungle rhythms are tempered by luxurious acid synths, blissed-out Balearic sighs and bells chiming into infinity, but everything is imbued with new vitality by these younger ears.

Ultimately, ‘Galaxy Garden’ is an album of beauty and intensity that’s not so much nostalgic for the dreams of the past as distanced from the mundanity of the present. Or, in the words of Lone himself, like “looking at space from the ground up and having your mind fucking blown.” [CR]

Claro Intelecto – ‘Reform Club’ [Delsin]
Mark Stewart, better known as Claro Intelecto, has long been one of the main British purveyors of the gentle and delicate sound of Detroit-flavoured techno.  Following his last ‘Metanarrative’ album that came out four years ago on Modern Love, the Manchester producer found himself a fitting new home at Amsterdam’s Delsin Records for his latest output, ‘Reform Club’. Delving into the deeper and moodier levels, Stewart remains loyal to what he does best – this album possesses sluggish, liquid and morphing ebbs and flows that are saturated in swirling, emotive textures. It also nicely incorporates elements of dub and deep house that resemble those of labelmates like Conforce and Newworldaquarium.

Grand, sub-aquatic melodies, warm stabs soaked in reverb, ghastly strings and chords, flashes of synth and taut percussive thumps are the aspects that give the album a dimension so evocative as though it has contracted some kind of peculiar disease, corroding, deteriorating, and wasting away to almost nothing. What’s left is a majestic set of eerily beautiful, stripped down yet compelling tracks that share a luminescence, all muffled in a consistent haze of static. Perhaps his most sophisticated and well-crafted release to date, ‘Reform Club’ is an intense and captivating listen where you can find the half-decayed beauty of Stewart’s true form of techno. [KYYC]
Stream Claro Intelecto – ‘Reform Club’ [Delsin]

Poliça – ‘Give You The Ghost’ [Memphis Industries]
After half a decade of being assailed by Auto-Tune, you’d think we’d be crying out for some off-key wailing and unvarnished voices to cut through the monolith of samey chart-pop lungs. Wrong! One listen to the stunning Lay Your Cards Out and suddenly an endless vista of innovation is revealed, situating Auto-Tune as just another brilliant experimental tool and showcasing Channy Leaneagh as one of the most exciting new voices of 2012. Produced with former Gayngs member Ryan Olson and Spoons’ Jim Eno, ‘Give You The Ghost’ pairs the gloomy sassiness of Portishead with elements of red-light funk and R&B for a strangely sexy listen. [CR]
Stream Poliça – ‘Give You The Ghost’ [Memphis Industries]

Icicle – Rinse 19 [Rinse]
Drum & bass has had a quiet resurgence in the last year or so. For those haunted by memories of Brighton in the mid 00s, rest assured – the scene which so long languished in terminal stasis as been energised by the crisp tectonic pressure of dubstep. This mix, by Shogun Audio head and Rinse FM regular, Icicle explores this space expertly, moving between the hardline sounds of Distance and the beautiful energy of Rockwell. This is, it must be said, a fairly minority interest unrelentingly pursued, but it’s a pretty decent mix, all in all. [CRJ]

Light Asylum – ‘Light Asylum’ [Mexican Summer]
One of the more exciting New York bands to emerge in 2010 was Light Asylum. A duo of producer Bruno Coviello and singer Shannon Funchess, They make powerful, epic EBM music, can write a song and Shannon has an absolutely flooring voice. There are some stone-cold bangers on here – Shallow Tears and A Certain Person – but personally, I feel the darkwave schtick a bit of a cul de sac, and despite the talents of both Bruno and Shannon, the album feels a bit stuck. Still, worth a spin, definitely. [CRJ]

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