Despite a title suggesting some kind of balance between extraversion and interiority, British producer Matt Cutler’s latest EP as Lone is mostly a physical affair. Ambivert Tools Volume One inhabits not so much the rich, invisible world of the self as it does a body on the dance floor. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker given that it is, after all, a dance record, but there is something frustrating and even self-defeating about Cutler’s insistence on hedonism and empty pleasure.
“Chroma” has its genuine glossy joys, to be sure, but opener “Crush Mood” has an almost numbing effect. With its insistent beats and spliced, grating vocal samples aimed squarely at manipulating the body into movement, the track sounds more like the moment late in the evening where dancing becomes an obligation to your surroundings rather than actual fun.
Only the knotty headphone music of closer “From a Past Life” lives up to the EP’s title, spinning an intricate web of rhythms that at last turns the lens slightly inward. If artists like Jon Hopkins or even Burial have crafted odes to the club scene that depict it as a meaningful and beautiful experience, however, Ambivert Tools too often sounds like a hollow caricature.