Release Date: Jul 13, 2018
Record label: Tri Angle
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.
J'Kerian Morgan, known to many as Berlin-based producer Lotic, has lived a definitively roller coaster lifestyle the past three years. In 2015, they orchestrated two remixes for Björk's Vulnicura, and even opened for the art pop icon in Berlin. However, life was dealing Morgan a rough hand around the same time. The Houston-born artist found themselves homeless, dealing with heartbreak and something far more intrinsic--their gender identity.
On their last EP, Agitations, Lotic moved away from the rhythmic, playful beats that defined the producer's early work, delving into fractured structures and barely-there melodies. On their debut full-length, Lotic attempts to tighten that gap, releasing a batch of songs that seem unconcerned with classification or even signification. Over 11 tracks and 40 minutes, the Berlin-based musician seems sonically impulsive and guileless, freely melding sounds, structures and ideas, as "Hunted" finds slick R&B musings whispered under ….
Earlier this year Lotic – the nom de guerre of J’Kerian Morgan – described debut album Power as "a bit of a reaction to the wildness of the world… I felt it was important for a debut album to somehow try to represent my entire musical history in a way that was more obvious than anything else I've done". Three years since the EPs Heterocetera and Agitations, the record is a continuation of their avant-garde style while showing greater depth in the composition. Lyrics are a new addition to tracks like Hunted, which builds an eerie trap-influenced soundscape around a repeated whispered phrase, as well as the cocky banger Nerve.
Lotic, as both an artist and DJ, commands your full attention. Their DJ sets are thrilling and unpredictable, shifting from R&B and ballroom to pop and rap. (They're likely to include a couple of ravaged Beyonce reworks as well.) Lotic, AKA J'Kerian Morgan, exudes a palpable sexual energy onstage. In a typical DJ set, they might suggestively bend and contort their body, relishing the spotlight behind (and on) the decks.
Since 2011, Lotic has played in a space of heightened contrasts, embracing the hyperreal potentials of electronic music much like their contemporaries Arca and Sophie. And like those producers, Lotic has moved from a tight focus on the more formal aspects of their music--the serrated edges of a given synthesizer patch or the structure of a mangled club beat--to a broader, more comprehensive look at narrative and affect. Made during a period of instability and homelessness, Power, their debut album, weaves Lotic's voice into the palette established by 2015's Heterocetera and Agitations EPs.
Lotic's debut album 'Power' was recorded after a period of homelessness in Berlin, meaning the album could only be worked on every few months, other a two-year period. The resulting eleven tracks challenge what power is, how it is used, and its effects. Opening track 'Love and Light' lives up to its name, with delightfully bright chimes and airy glittering, ethereal and euphoric synths.