Lotic

Power

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    9
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One of the founders of Berlin's legendary Janus collective, Lotic is a pioneer of the loosely defined experimental club scene of the 2010s, blending elements of ballroom culture, trap, and R&B with aggressive, intense sound design. Following a string of acclaimed mixtapes and two 2015 EPs, Heterocetera and Agitations, the Texas-born artist (who goes by gender-neutral pronouns) was evicted from their apartment, and sporadically had time to work on music over the next few years. Power is Lotic's long-awaited full-length debut, and it's an immensely compelling work that confronts gender norms and racial biases, in addition to addressing fear, vulnerability, and inner strength. For the first time, Lotic sings on this album, and their lyrics add a bracing level of poignancy to the adventurous sonic constructions, with songs like "Hunted" and "Bulletproof" expressing feelings of being targeted due to their skin color and gender nonconformity. Far less club-ready than older Lotic releases, Power is often more delicate, incorporating softer textures and an intimacy inspired by neo-classical chamber music, as introduced by the nearly music box-like melodies of opener "Love and Light." There's still plenty of noisy, post-industrial sound manipulation, as well as layers of twisted, shredded percussion and subversions of various eras of club music -- just witness the crushed dembow rhythm and reversed "Energy Flash"-like strings of "Distribution of Care." Tracks like "The Warp and the Weft" and "Heart" mutate marching band drum cadences, creating patterns and timbres that clearly couldn't be performed on acoustic drums, yet are unmistakably human rhythms. The album ends with "Solace," a sparkling, soul-baring ballad with a tense, grinding undercurrent, ending with the words "It's gonna be okay." Ultimately, the album's message is one of fearlessness and self-empowerment, and it's the most inspiring work Lotic has crafted.

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