The Autumn, or Fall for my North American readers, is looking to be a strong season for new music. As the leaves turn golden brown, fall and decorate the pavement with a multitude of golden brown shades and hues, it is a time for reflection and also promise.
Ryan Lott, also known as Son Lux has released an album that fulfills both of these aspects of Autumn, and it is wonderfully eclectic; full of shades of gold itself, it’s a wonderful listen and perfect for kicking leaves around. Lanterns is his third solo album.
Opening track Alternate World at first seems like a minimalist effort, but it features gorgeous textures that only become apparent after successive listens. Gorgeous electronic melodies are interspersed with a lovely slide guitar that adds a haunting sense to proceedings. You may find the lyrics twee, but the impact of them is pure promise for the future.
Lost It To Trying I have previously posted about; more up-tempo than Alternate World and even more chock full of textures. It’s a musical tapestry complete with perfect woven threads of brass, live instrumentation and electronic touches which make for a wonderful listen. These two songs are one hell of a way to open an album – different but showcasing the talents of Lott – composer, weaver, human.
Listening to Lanterns it is easy to comprehend why, as a producer, Lott has been in great demand. Having worked with Arcade Fire and These New Puritans amongst others, he has enlisted the help of Chris Thile (The Punch Brothers), Peter Silberman (The Antlers), DM Stith, Lily & Madeleine, Darren King (Mutemath), Ieva Berberian (Gem Club) and yMusic (Dirty Projectors, Bon Iver) here. There contributions just add to the specialness you feel when you hear the album.
Easy changes things up a little with the addition of soul and slow jazz. It’s a plaintive song, but still beautiful. It was even the recipient of a remix from Busdriver, and it is available for download now. Remixes are usually an excuse for laziness, but the reinterpretation here is staggering. It genuinely feels like a sister-peice to the original.
One of the more personal highlights on Lanterns is Enough Of Our Machines. It starts as a piano-led ballad. Plucked strings then come in and the lyrics start. As far as I can gather, it’s an anti-technology song. I can, at times, empathise with the sentiment. But then the surprise comes in just under half way through. It’s machines that start making the music. It’s a clever juxtaposition.
If you are looking for your first “essential” album of the Autumn, then you must move this up to the top of your list. If you can catch him in the UK in January on the 23rd and 24th in London and Dublin respectively I doubt you’d be disappointed.
Lanterns by Son Lux was released earlier this week on Joyful Noise Recordings