Loner Deluxe - "Must Not Sleep Must Warn Others/Lost & Found"

Another small and perfectly formed artefact from the increasingly essential Rusted Rail micro-burst of a label, this time a hand-stamped double 3" CD-R set in trademark purple card sleeve with abstract polaroid art and informative folded card colour insert. Collector heaven! What I know about entity calling him/her/itself Loner Deluxe could be inscribed on the head of a pin with room left over for a haiku or two, but there is no denying the acumen on display here, on conjoined releases with different purposes but equal strike rate artistically. 'Must Not Sleep Must Warn Others' was originally released on the Tokyo-based Duotone label and has now returned home to Rusted Rail to be re-purposed at part of this twin pack.
In a style one could describe (if one must) as folktronica, 'Must Not Sleep...' trades in the mellow, contemplative and pastoral weaving of melodies from ambiguous sources - possible keyboards, possible guitars, definite field recordings and icicle droplets of percussion. The connection to Dorset artist Michael Tanner (Plinth) is palpable (more of this further on) - the same sense of wandering through a tabernacle of antique instrumentation and dreaming toys is there, as is the innate calm induced by the recordings. Occasionally, beats and loops gently circulate, as on the track 'Listen to the Machines', which is helped out by Deserted Villager extraordinaire Dave Colohan on keys (identifiable from the sleeve notes). Some tracks are pure landscape, like 'The Beach at St Malo'. Occasionally the weather closes in, as on the brilliant 'Empathy Player', where sampled radio voices talk of extreme events over the counter-balancing jewel of acoustica used as backing track. 'Monumentals' creates further wormholes to the space inhabited by Plinth's 'Victorian Machine Music', while 'I must have fallen asleep and we drifted apart' closes the first disc with a melancholy meditation driven by guest pianist Scott McLaughlin (whose name pops up all over the place on United Bible Studies and Agitated Radio Pilot releases, and other tunnels through the Irish underground).
'Lost & Found' is billed as a bonus 3" disc of previously unreleased material, and forms a fine companion piece to 'Must Not Sleep'. Opening track 'Summer Turns to God' is the result of mail exchange of material between Loner Deluxe and The Declining Winter and is a schizoid being made up of acoustic guitars, primitive beats, sampled voice and "electrickery", all battling for headroom in intriguing fashion. On the previous Loner Deluxe release 'The Plinth Tapes', original source material was recorded in Dorset by Plinth and mailed to Loner Deluxe for collaging and beat generation, and that methodology is reprised on the track 'Dorset Sound', which crackles and hums into obscure electronic life like a previously unknown aquatic creature swimming into a collection net set by research scientists, finally emerging into the light of bell-like clarity (hopefully not stuffed and mounted). It's a great example of linear sound generation and subsequent scrambling and more can be found on 'The Plinth Tapes' for the curious. Elsewhere on 'Lost & Found', things are more fluid and contiguous, tone poems, sampled voice, sounds of the sea, beat propulsion here and there and much characteristic tinkling and chiming. 'Winternet' is typical if anything is, transitioning from delicate acoustic guitar and drones to thudding beats and back again. It all feels like some mashed up shortwave transmission from various parts of the world, orchestrated by a troubled savant for an unknown purpose, but somehow coming out as meditational rather than disturbing, which stands as exemplar for this whole project, really.
(Tony Dale)

I remember childhood the trips to the beach -- the seagulls swarming in the cloudy grey sky, the cold sea and the salty air that I was always told was good for me. I still believe the bit about the sea air, even through all the modern pollutants. Loner Deluxe is music that is the perfect accompaniment to looking at old Polaroid pictures of outings when you were strapped into your parents' car, whizzing off and shouting ,"Are we there, yet?" Traveling across strange lands, seeing the sea surface behind houses for the first time and the sadness at having to go home, with the flashing lights of the arcade still in your mind were the days I am reliving as I listen to this album. There's even a mini Polaroid type pictures stuck on the case. Stylistically, the music is a dub enthused Indie electronica. Looped acoustic guitars, field recordings and snippets of conversation create melodies of reminiscent respite and calm. Charmingly twee at times, bashful at others, Loner Deluxe are just one great big bundle of fun. Pianos feature heavily alongside the acoustic tones. Think Hood's early Ambient outings spliced with their latter day Cold House-esque drum patterns and you have Loner Deluxe. Also, if you liked The Declining Winter then Loner Deluxe walks the same autumn hedge lined roads. A 3" mini cd, packaged in equally small casing, this tiny gem hides big adventures. A remix CD is a great addition to the album tracks, adding some amazing angles to some already wonderful tracks. Stay in, keep warm, grab a drink and listen to Loner Deluxe.
Crumbs in the Butter

A double 3" cd in a purple sleeve would draw me in on purely aesthetic terms for starters, but once there the music made by Loner Deluxe has kept my undivided attention. Gently glitched acoustic instruments, sampled loops and speech extracts make this music feel like a journey.... like two short road movies passing through different episodes, albeit without the visuals. Dave Colohan (Agitated Radio Pilot) guests along the way and the whole thing is, as the late Ivor Cutler used to say, a pleasure and a treat. Highly recommended.
Boa Melody Bar

Here's a cute double 3" CD set entitled 'Lost and Found' by Loner Deluxe on the Rusted Rail label (they released the Declining Winter album). Coincidentally this features a remix of The Declining Winter. Spread across the two CD's you get 8 tracks of nice ethereal sounding electro acoustic experimental indie a hint of folk and a dash of electronica. I don't think I squeezed quite enough genres in there but this certainly covers all of those bases. It's pretty stuff. A couple of the tracks have that wonky guitar sound that Boards of Canada used on the last album or in fact what Bibio use. Yeah I like this... some nice tunes on there which are casually stroking my musical horn.
Norman Records

When I say I could listen to this tune endlessly you'd probably be stumped but then that's the magic of Loner Deluxe. There has always been a sense of the celestial about them and at this time of year 'Frozen Grass' sounds like the most seasonal composition imaginable. Loner Deluxe have consistently specialised in wintry song titles it must be said but ?Frozen Grass' readily conjures an image of a country door ajar with the cool night air teasing the wind chimes inside. The circular machinations of this beauty should entrance and if it doesn't perhaps the drudgery of life has robbed you of your sense of childlike wonder. ?Frozen Grass' can be found on the double 3-inch presentation titled ?Must Not Sleep Must Warn Others/Lost & Found' on the increasingly brilliant Irish net label Rusted Rail

Loner Deluxe - "The Plinth Tapes" (Rusted Rail)

'The Plinth Tapes' sees Loner Deluxe exercising his creative freedoms on source material provided by Dorset's Plinth. This is a fine example of the kind of organic yet sequencer based folktronica pioneered by the likes of Kieran Hebden Soft ambient synths and subtle melodic guitar patterns are carefully crafted and manipulated to from vast sound collages that drift over the room and tickle the ears. Ambient folkiness is occasionally interrupted by a looped beat or some bizarre banter (i'm not sure if it's supposed to be funny, but on the track 'Persons Unknown' there is some particularly good talk from a fella justifying the shooting of some helpless character by suggesting he is 'vigilante of god'. This is just one of many found sound gems to heard on this release) to reel the listener in but mostly you'll find yourself floating in a light atmosphere sometimes referred to as acoustica or folktronica. Available on Rusted Rail on that proper tiny cd format that is way to easy to lose, yet practical if you are short on storage space like yours truly.
Norman Records

Loner Deluxe sure knows what he is doing, and it's no bones to proffer he is doing some of the straightest, most convincing statements in this area. And no, it's not warped-beyond-reality effects, there is no macho laptop smashing on display, and we are not in some mathematically obsessed structuralist post-whatever netherworld.
The Cookshop

The Plinth Tapes is a delightful mini-CD from Loner Deluxe on Rusted Rail Records. It comes housed in a handmade cover and slipped into a perfect-fit coin bag. The story behind the album is that an other Rusted Rail band, Plinth sent Loner Deluxe some recordings to work with, he brought the material into his laptop and began recasting the material, adding beats and xylophone and found sounds and whatnot and came up with The Plinth Tapes. For the most part this is very mellow, pretty, space-tronica with gentle beats, folky and acoustic instruments - xylophone, guitar, accordion - but at times the album has teeth harsh synth noise bites surprisingly hard in a few sections. Loner Deluxe is a very pleasant discovery, highly recommended for fans of 9 Lazy 9, Boards of Canada, Mum, and other artists in that relaxed, spaced-out vein. The CD is made that much more appealing being housed in the handmade Rusted Rail packaging. Mellow electronica with some surprisingly noisy detours.
Left Hip

Post, I'm sure you'd agree, is a wonderful thing. It is definitely something that song-weavers Loner Deluxe and Plinth agree on - having made this album via a series of postal exchanges. Plinth (aka Michael Tanner) began the postal ping-pong, sending tapes of live recordings with vintage musical equipment and samples of old victorian parlour music to Loner Deluxe in Ireland, where he added his electronic wizardry.
Rough Trade Digital

Plinth's gentle, chiming melodic music, replete with spoken word samples, is reworked here by Loner Deluxe and friends. The treatments are an ideal compliment to the spirit of the originals, with additional drums, xylophone and a rather nice accordion from Anne Marie Deacy of Mirakil Whip. A charming record.
Boa Melody Bar

A collaboration between Dorset based avant folk outfit Plinth and Irish based electronic artist Loner Deluxe, the source material was provided by plinth who then sent the tapes to loner deluxe and allowed them to work their magic on it, this eight track album is released on the new Irish based micro label rusted rail, the original music has all been made using live recordings with vintage musical equipment and samples of old victorian parlour music, when this is all put together the sounds are like a blend of Godspeed, Four Tet, glitchy little electronic sound effects, haunting fairground music, Boards of Canada and a kinda strange psyche folk version of My Bloody Valentine, 3 inch cd which comes in a lovely card handmade sleeve.
Road Records

Both Loner Deluxe and Plinth are signed to the net label Rusted Rail. This association led to the southern coast of England dwellers sending some of their recordings to the west coast of Ireland inhabitant. Loner Deluxe has a laptop you see and is skilled in the art of making something magical appear from the audio-out part of his machine. ?The Plinth Tapes' was the offspring of the cross pollination and a charming piece of electronica it is too. ?Snow Was Melting, Roads Were Wet' is the opening track, a noise that could have mischievously wandered out of a Caribou session ('Crayon', Manitoba era). Combining trickling synth bells, scattered words of movietone wisdom and a guitar-enabled tranche of white noise is always going to prick up my ears and ?Snow Was Melting, Roads Were Wet' proves to be consistently rewarding. As refreshing as it's subject in fact.

A collaboration of sorts, this album opens to an explanation of the editor , who splices many performances in order to create the one perfect master-tape . Originating with Plinth, material was sent to Loner Deluxe who then had his way as editor. Unlike a laptop album (or whatever that concept conjures in your sick head), the sound here is real and heavy (when it wants to be), and much bigger than the two artists involved. The general sentiment is that of Mogwai, or more precisely, that band's more dynamic successors such as Brooklyn's Apse; reminiscent of instrumentalists From Monument to Masses, the majority tracks feature assorted splices of provocative speech as the only voice on the album. Overall, The Plinth Tapes features a wider sonic range than either group, with passages of mandolin and accordion deftly inserted between formal guitar/bass/drum rockers.

Folk-electronica would be just another new and sad hyphenated word used to describe music that programmers need labels for. While this is a sonic collage of traditional folk instrumentation (it was recorded and mixed in Southern England and the western coast of Ireland) ambient sounds, loops and natural found sounds, better to just dig into the joy and mastery of this gem, and forget labels. It sounds like a Loner Deluxe record. There is a peace to tracks like "Snow Was Melting", "Bridge Blue", and "Sparks into the Night" but all is not totally in harmony. Bursts of brutal noise joins the quiet drone at surprising times, and with a coherent authority in the mix. It must be the Celtic in them that makes for such a natural fit of the sacred with the profane. Whatever the intention, the result is powerful and human. 8/10
Mike Wood Foxy Digitalis