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It’s hard to believe that Reality Testing is the sixth album from Manchester-based producer Lone, but his has been a quiet and steady ascent. Following on from the continued success of his relationship with R&S Records, this year he dropped Reality Testing - its title referring to the process of distinguishing the internal world of emotions and thoughts from the world outside.
Appropriately, it’s a hazy, languid affair, one in which Lone moves between the US house of Detroit and Chicago and the dusty grooves of west-coast hip-hop and beat music. Nestled in the middle of this new material are the two sides of last year’s marvellous Airglow Fires release, both the frantically upbeat title track and the jazzier swing of ‘Begin To Begin’. Similar in approach, 'Restless City' is a gorgeous take on buzzing house music, keys and percussion meeting spoken word samples that speak of what's really real. 'Meeker Warmer Energy' is a shimmering hip-hop jam, one that calls to mind hazy sunshine resting on still waters, while 'Aurora Northern Quarter' is that track's late-night equivalent, all balmy darkness and lusty dances in its retro piano stabs. 'Coincidences' shuffles along like a meeting between the lush organ sounds of Floating Points and the percussive expression of Four Tet, and the weariness of 'Jaded' is a down-tempo antidote to any rave-induced injuries. It's very easy to shoot and miss when it comes to sonic variety, but Reality Testing is a slam-dunk of both style and substance for Lone.
This entire record is brilliant. This piece is ear candy to me. An insanely catchy beat mixed with melancholic melodies. And Lone keeps experimenting with every single record he does. I love it.