Format: CD / Label: Werk Discs

The latest full-length release from UK house auteur Actress’s Werk Discs label (also home of Lukid, and sometimes Zomby) takes the form of Ecstasy and Friends, the third long player from Matt Culter, the Nottingham-based producer best known as Lone.

Picking up where critically acclaimed – and pretty damn good – 2008 LP Lemurian left off, Lone produces sophisticated, soul-infused instrumentals that look to California’s sun-kissed beat scene while adding his own crunching, melody-heavy take. Going heavy on the synths and 808s, Lone effortlessly weaves his sound between soul, hip-hop and house like some amorphous (day)dream state.

Even the track titles (‘To Be with a Person that you Really Dig’, ‘Paradise Backyard Jam’) imply that Lone’s a dreamer, conjuring up images of bleary-eyed West Coast Sundays before they do Nottingham’s greyer environs. The excellent ‘Karen Loves Kate’, with sampled laughter, loping synths and a handclap beat brings to mind Dorian Concept jamming in Boards of Canada’s garden, while the bashier ‘Skygrazer Crusade’ is like a less demented take on Slugabed’s analogue bump.

Throughout this 11 track album Lone takes his production to a luminous place where you can sit back and let the grooves take over; his distinct take on modern hip-hop finding peers in California’s Flying Lotus and Nosaj Thing, and the UK’s Lukid and Paul White. Can we add how much we’re loving the track titles?

Zainab Jama



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