Having come up in the burgeoning Melbourne club/production scene, Lewie Day, aka Tornado Wallace, has been responsible for well-received releases on ESP Institute, Beats In Space and other well-respected underground labels. Lonely Planet, the eagerly anticipated debut LP from the Berlin-based Australian, is another solid offering.
Named after the popular backpacker's guide (which has its largest office in Melbourne), Lonely Planet finds Day favouring his more lush and organic tendencies, leading to a satisfying, exclusively mid-tempo outing that references new age and '80s soundtrack music, all with a distinctly coastal tone. Late-album cut "Voices" is the definite highlight here, a nine-minute epic that features some gorgeously evocative synth work, all windswept beaches and slow-motion speedboats. It's the song that played over the credits of that lifeguard movie you know you watched in 1983 but could never find again. Vangelis would approve.
Frankly, nothing else on the album comes close to matching it, but there remains much to like. The sparkling arpeggios and loon calls of "Kingdom Animalia," for instance, are very cool, and album closer "Healing Feeling" boasts another highly memorable synth line. One wishes these ideas could have been developed a little bit more, and if pressed, it's a criticism that could be applied to the entire album, although it's likely this would ignore Day's artistic intent.
In any event, Lonely Planet is a pleasing collection of well-crafted, often beautiful sketches, and while they may not always end up anywhere specific, you'll always enjoy the journey nonetheless. (Running Back)