Son Lux
Lanterns


4.0
excellent

Review

by Matt Harrison CONTRIBUTOR (20 Reviews)
February 14th, 2014 | 74 replies | 3,253 views


Release Date: 10/29/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Leave the wasting world behind.

There’s a moment about halfway through Lanterns’ opening track “Alternate World,” after Son Lux composer Ryan Lott’s synth arpeggios, flickering vocals, pulsing bass, and trip-hop beats have ascended to stratospheric heights, when he finally pauses, gently suspended in orbit. The music dissolves, leaving only the soft hum of synth arpeggios as Lott glances back towards the earth he's left behind, and in his signature fragile voice, teetering on the edge of breaking, asks a simple question: “Don’t we make what we can?” For a composer whose expanses into abstract, electronic territory seem to know no bounds, it’s a strange thing to hear Lott convey such hesitation and doubt about his musical direction. In fact, much of Lanterns presents a conscious tension between the Artificial and the Organic, the Analog and the Digital, and even more consequently, the Need and the Excess, with Lott pondering the line between what you can create in music and what you should create.

Yet despite his concern that the further he delves into synthetic sounds the more he relinquishes his soul, Lott is by no means holding back the ambition on Lanterns. Second track, and deserving single, “Lost it to Trying,” features exploding bass saxophone, fluttering flutes, and cacophonous drums, displaying Lott at both his most versatile and volatile. It’s far and away the highlight of the album, and one that showcases his tremendous songwriting talent when he forgoes the conservative.

What may be a little too predictable, then, is that the remaining seven tracks on Lanterns follow a similar pattern of balancing modesty vs. lavishness, with Lott largely losing his battle to restrain the artificial. Sometimes the expansive musical approach is effective (e.g. the unrelentingly energetic “No Crimes”), and sometimes the conservative musical approach is effective (e.g. the minimalist, trip-hop-centric single, “Easy”). However, there are some instances where Lott’s hesitations to indulge the grandiose (or scale it back) are less than fitting, and while I hate to be a backseat composer, I can’t help but think “Pyre” could have benefitted from a shorter runtime, and closing track “Lanterns Lit” could use just a few more instruments to make for a more colossal finale. Still, the problems with Lanterns are really just gripes, and do little to diminish the overall effect of Son Lux’s third release.

What makes Lanterns such an important step in Lott's career is that he's questioning his own musical direction, and the implications of it--something that not many artists do (or at least are brave enough to admit doing), and while Lott may not have found his answer to that defining question on "Alternate World," the closing track ends with him expressing at least some solace: "I'll keep my lanterns lit."



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user ratings (38)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2014


1664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

First review as Contributor :] Tried to make it up to snuff.

"Lost it to Trying": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkLT5krv_6c

FourthReich
February 14th 2014


17542 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review wish the whole album was as good as easy and lost it to trying

PunchforPunch
February 14th 2014


6280 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i love short review

Digging: Robert Hood - Fabric 39

sixdegrees
February 14th 2014


17039 Comments


woo

Digging: Foreground Eclipse - Stories That Last Through The Sleepless Nights

tommygun
February 14th 2014


24923 Comments


nice nice

Digging: Broods - Evergreen

WashboardSuds
February 14th 2014


5007 Comments


gotta get dis

Digging: Gas - Nah und Fern

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2014


1664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cool fact: A friend of mine is actually good friends with Mr. Lux and plays the bass sax on "Lost it to Trying."

FourthReich
February 14th 2014


17542 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that's badass http://i.imgur.com/j7fiJKO.png

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 14th 2014


10190 Comments


in b4 LordPots loses his shit up in here!

Nice review by the way =]

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2014


1664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks! You definitely helped me improve that intro paragraph haha.

larrytheslug
February 14th 2014


1315 Comments


good review. congratz on contributing reviewer tooo ! !

Cygnatti
February 14th 2014


21352 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

fucking love dis

Digging: Jon Hopkins - Immunity

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2014


1664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks!

larrytheslug
February 14th 2014


1315 Comments


thank you tho. you review intriguing albums ;D

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2014


1664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It wasn't easy to write about, I'll tell you that.

Polyethylene
February 14th 2014


3078 Comments


Lorde covered "Easy" live was so fucking good

YourDarkAffected
Contributing Reviewer
February 14th 2014


1664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh yeah, I heard about that. Perfect song for her to cover off this.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
February 14th 2014


31158 Comments


Didn't enjoy this as much as At War With... but this is still a great release

Digging: Banks - Goddess

osmark86
February 14th 2014


4066 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yes! this album really deserved a review.

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avonbarksdale221
February 14th 2014


8228 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

reviews like this and its no longer you've fast-tracked your way to contrib. great stuff, need to jam.



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