Son Lux – Lanterns (2013)
Somewhere unstuck in time is Son Lux, born Ryan Lott, still trying to navigate his way through relics of the past and curios of the future. At 34, he’s a consummate dilettante, moving seamlessly from, say, inventing instrumental patches used in the score of the time-traveling sci-fi movie Looper to producing beats for Anticon rapper Beans. That’s the heady hip hop label that put out his first official pop album, At War With Walls & Mazes, a collage of organic and electronic samples matted together under Lott’s completely breakable voice. It took Lott almost four years to compile his debut, a process that came together while he was composing music for TV ads, all in the spirit of accidental curiosity. And four years is an eternity compared to his follow-up, the far more dense electro-chamber pop album We Are Rising, which he wrote over just 28 days in 2011 at the behest of NPR.
In effect, Lanterns is the first Son Lux album made with an organic timeline and intention. It also happens to be a record of experimental music that strives to be something beyond just an experiment. Can flute trills actually live with an instrument built from Pro Tools? Can an arrhythmic baritone saxophone actually coexist with an 808 bass thump? For Son Lux, these aren’t hypotheticals or theories scribbled into a notebook, these are the sounds of his native tongue and he wants to blend them all into a new language. Lanterns isn’t piecemeal beats or hastily assembled clutter, rather it begs to be heard as the lingua franca of the past and the future, something spoken on a pseudo-spiritual plane that connects the analog and digital realms. And sometimes it totally gets close…pitchfork