- Since 2010, Lewie Day, AKA Tornado Wallace, has made himself one of Australia's finest dance music exports. With ten singles to his name, on labels like Instruments Of Rapture and ESP Institute, his deft touch is always clear, whether he's doing luminous house, mixing in some acid or crafting a bewitching tribal drum pattern. Lonely Planet, his first full-length, arrives seven years since his debut, and it was mostly worth the wait.
As its title implies, the LP is a journey of sorts, and the change of pace suits Day's craftsmanship. With bird chirps pitched into digital blips, weightless "ahh"s, tingly jazz chords, a smattering of hand drums and rattles, the title track emulates exotica and updates it for the 21st century. Day's way with live drums has always made Tornado Wallace singles into surefire dance floor favorites, and though not quite on par with his previous work, the percussion simmers here. A liquid guitar line darts around the beat, giving the music a hazy psychedelia. Faster drum patterns undergird "Warp Odyssey," and Day paces them by adding a plump, slow-shifting synth line that takes its time shimmying to the surface.
"Been around the world with you / City lights get lonely, too," sings Sui Zhen on "Today." Day's production is sumptuous and suggestive of '80s Balearic pop, but Zhen's delivery feels slightly too aware of its homage, too cool for the humid setting around it. The arpeggios of "Kingdom Animalia" make it glisten like skin after a jungle hike, an image enhanced by the lush sounds of gurgling water, animal cries and swooping synths.
The album's high point comes on the slow-burning centerpiece, "Voices." It opens with a bit of vinyl crackle and a bamboo flute echoing in near silence. Ever so carefully, Day adds shakers and reverberating guitar lines that slowly swell. Soon, thumb piano and a fat analog synth appear, placid chords ring out, as does a darker sound like bowed metal. It's almost five minutes before the drum machine ticks to life with just enough speed to give the music momentum. A gorgeous keyboard melody gives the song a dramatic arc, before Day winds it down with an accompanying piano. It's a stunner unlike anything on previous Tornado Wallace records, and it hints at greatness ahead. Lonely Planet rarely veers off the beaten path, but when it does, it's quite the voyage.
01. Lonely Planet
02. Trance Encounters
03. Today feat. Sui Zhen
04. Warp Odyssey
06. Kingdom Animalia
07. Healing Feeling