Tuesday, January 26, 2010

anticon. to release Son Lux's "Weapons" EP this February featuring new songs plus remixes from Nico Muhly, Polyphonic, and Alias

Classically-trained composer Son Lux (Ryan Lott) has kept busy in the wake of praise for his last album "At War With Walls & Mazes", capturing the attention of tastemakers as diverse as NPR, Okayplayer, Pitchfork and composer Nico Muhly. He will release his Weapons EP on anticon. this February while working up his sophomore follow-up. This week, Asthmatic Kitty will release multiple EPs of My Brighest Diamond remixes, one of which is all reworks by Son Lux. Lott also recently spent a good deal of time working on the upcoming These New Puritans album arranging brass and woodwinds.

Much of what gave At War With Walls & Mazes its unique appeal was Lott's central objective: to create a body of songs that inhabited the pop spectrum whilst ditching binary form (verse-chorus) for something more akin to chant. On record, rhythms and words moved uninhibited around anchoring melodies; live, this freed Lott to reinvent each track during performances, either reorganizing bits solo via piano or arranging the parts for new ensembles and instruments.

In the time since Mazes, Lott has stayed busy composing - among other things - hours of music for dance companies from New York to Paris. But for him, the chant-based concept of the Son Lux debut required further investigation. The Weapons EP is Lott's self-issued challenge to do just that - to use Mazes standout "Weapons," whose primary melody haunts various points of that record, as a launch pad for a complete EP of material derived from a single source.

To this end, Lott built three new compositions around the original's essential kernel and enlisted three trusted collaborators - Anticon artists Alias and Polyphonic, plus Muhly himself - to do the rest. The result is not only six unique reincarnations of "Weapons," but a fractal work where melody becomes song becomes cycle, with one essence woven throughout.

Opener "Weapons II" is a drumless specter of the original - a slowly cresting swell of strings that collapses in squelch just as familiarity sets in. For "Weapons III," Polyphonic leaves an indelible stamp, eroding the original's billowing percussion into a ricocheting set of Matmos-like bloops before dissolving the whole thing in a wash of warm ambience. Muhly is responsible for "Weapons IV," replacing Lott's rich sequencer melody with raw viola, isolating ominous organ tones, and weaving instrumentation through the huge, panning drums. It's a surprisingly beat- based contribution from classical's rising star.

Then, on "Weapons V," Lott steps back in. An orchestral gallop explodes into a completely reworked rhythm that pits its punk rock thrust against sweeping strings. Alias counters with "Weapons VI," where a boom-bap kit (including handclaps and cowbell) is chopped into glitchy bits that flow beneath the glacial keyboards and frenetic rap. Last and perhaps most impressive, Lott's "Weapons VII" wrangles horns, woodwinds and live drums for a six-and-a-half-minute take whose cacophony ultimately slows to an intimate, jazz-inflected crawl beguiling enough to make one forget these songs' common source.

praise for Son Lux...

"The imagery is clear, the sentiment classic, and the delivery hushed and awed. It's the sonic background that's so affecting. That twist in the combination produces odd troikas of comparison: the lyrical concerns of Sufjan Stevens circa Seven Swans, production techniques from Massive Attack, and the classical habits of Nico Muhly."
- Pitchfork Media

"There's a clean, architectural feeling to Son Lux"
-Tiny Mix Tapes

"Hallucinatory vortex of Classical, Jazz, Soul, Rock, and Electronic."

NPR 2008 Pick for Best Unknown Artist


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