Lotic (aka producer/DJ J'Kerian Morgan) earned a significant amount of praise for the EPs he released on #FEELINGS and Sci-Fi & Fantasy, but it was his 2014 mixtape Damsel in Distress that drew raves. Crafted in the wake of an agonizing breakup, it was some of his most moving music in both senses of the word: its wrenched, tweaked beats and melodies were sometimes tortured but always compelling as they nodded to IDM, the '90s house venerated by ball culture, and 2010s R&B. Climaxing with a raw, spooky reworking of a live version of Beyonce's "Drunk in Love" that stripped down the song to her all-consuming vocals and a trap beat, it was the most dramatic expression of Lotic's powers yet. Heterocetera is Morgan's follow-up to Damsel in Distress, as well as his Tri Angle debut; it seemed inevitable that he'd end up on this label, not just because friends such as Rabit also release music there, but because Lotic's approach fits with the intense-yet-mercurial sounds of Vessel and the Haxan Cloak. Like those artists, Morgan is uncompromising but not single-minded, and his ability to balance contrasting moods and sounds has only grown with each release. Two of Heterocetera's tracks appeared on Damsel in Distress: the fittingly named "Suspension," a prelude that leaves listeners hanging and reaffirms how well Morgan uses brief pieces to set a mood, and the title track, which turns the wobbly hook from Masters at Work's "The Ha Dance" into an uneasy refrain as it combines his previous experiments in texture, tension, and melody into one of his most striking pieces yet. Heterocetera's new tracks are just as accomplished, with Morgan delivering increasingly sophisticated nuances on his style. His rippling, pummeling beats remain the backbone of his music, but as they crackle to support "Slay"'s swooping melody and spring to life midway through "Phlegm," they become increasingly flexible. Closing with the dazzling clockwork that is "Underneath," Heterocetera is more than a worthy successor to Damsel in Distress -- it's some of Lotic's most exciting music.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares