Matt Cutler’s eighth release under the Lone moniker is one built on firsts. Not only is Always Inside Your Head the first of Lone’s releases to be produced under the Greco-Roman record label, it’s also the first full-length release for the project since 2016’s Levitate, a defining record which continued Cutler’s pattern of iteration and experimentation and which saw him distil his sound into its headiest, hybridized concoction to date.
Always Inside Your Head continues on this trajectory of transformation and sees the Nottingham-raised producer create some of his most essential material to date, all of which help figure Cutler as one of the UK’s foremost electronic producers at this time. In short, where Lone has never quite been afforded the status that he deserves, Always Inside Your Head looks to rectify the oversight.
From its very first moments, Always Inside Your Head draws a line in the sand, one which suggests that the record will be yet another sonic departure for Cutler, and it’s one that’s achieved via the first-time inclusion of a guest singer. Morgane Diet’s presence on the record marks the first time that Lone has opted for vocal support on a release and it’s a stylistic choice that pays dividends.
Diet’s breathy vocals are the first thing you hear on Always Inside Your Head and contribute noticeably to the instantly striking opening of "Hidden By Horizons". The opener is an oneiric and animated piece which blend Lone’s well-worn drum patterns and swirling otherworldly pads with Diet’s vocals in such a way that it’s as if the two have never existed separately.
It’s important to note that in spite of the decision to include a guest vocalist, the DNA of Lone’s production work is left discernibly intact. For example, "Realise" features the shimmering, euphoric chords and concussive breakbeat rhythms that many will recognise, whilst its steel drum synth refrain afford the song the kind of catchiness found on Ambivert Tools, Vol. 4. On the other hand, the listless and laid-back quality of "Echo Paths" seems to call back to 2014’s Reality Testing, but it’s soaked in radiant synths and a reverb-drenched vocal sample that is distinctively Always Inside Your Head.
"Inlove2" stands as a notable highlight on the album and is perhaps one of the most immediately captivating pieces that Lone has produced to date. The track sees Lone drift closer to pop than he has ever done before, but it’s one where both he and Diet are most perceptibly balanced, with her astral vocal work floating softly above the tropical paradise beneath it, yet another polished example of experimentation in motion.
Other contemplative highlights include "Akoya", an initially meditative piece which gives way to vast synthetic walls of sound, buoyed by ethereal vocal harmonies from Diet. On the other hand, "Undaunted" plays effortlessly with genre towards the end of the album, moving deftly from ambient house to trip hop in its mere six minute window. The only real outlier here is "Tree for Tree" which only just slightly outstays its welcome and '90s rave aesthetic in its near 7 minute runtime.
Always Inside Your Head is a dizzying blend of the old, balanced artfully with the achingly new. It’s an album which stretches back across Lone’s work with a critical eye, sampling from the defining moments of the project and reframing them for an audience in 2021. Through delicate balance of production, guest vocals and his distinguished sonic profile, Cutler has proven yet again that there is no release under the Lone moniker that is n