Lotic has always made powerful music. Both their 2015 EPs, Heterocetera and Agitations, explore harsh and disruptive sonic tendencies that push boundaries to breaking points. Power, the debut album from the Berlin-based producer, continues the experimental blueprint of their EPs and manages to purposefully develop a vulnerable, grounded humanity to accompany it.
‘An exploration of power told with a grounded humanity’
By concocting experimental productions that toe the line between gritty techno, avant-garde and more mainstream genres such as trap or R&B, Lotic’s unique style of song-writing defies any specific label. It’s no coincidence that Lotic has billed Power as an “empowerment album” and one of the greatest achievements of the debut LP is Lotic’s ability to display themselves as a voice worth recognising in both their political statements and harsh style. Power demands you take notice, be it through tracks such as ‘The Warp And The Weft’ that fires a volley of industrial drum shots through the air or through the angelic introductory track, ‘Love And Light’.
One instantly recognisable evolution in Lotic’s music is the incorporation of the human voice into the fray, often becoming part of the sound design or being utilised more traditionally in the instances of ‘Solace’ or from Moro in ‘Heart’. It’s this addition that enhances the personal aspect of Lotic’s music, and whilst their music has always exuded personality, this inclusion provokes further empathy and creates an even greater nuance to Lotic’s song-writing. Power is an album of duality, one that lays out Lotic’s introspective fears for the world to see but remains adamantly an album of endurance, told through a narrative that demands the same recognition as anyone else.
Written over a two-year period during a time of personal turmoil, Power flits between these moments of uncompromising assertiveness and a tentative honesty. It’s this dichotomy between exacting electronic sound design and vulnerability that makes Power so compelling. Album highlight ‘Hunted’ exemplifies why the incorporation of Lotic’s voice is such an evolutionary step in their music with the whispered refrain ‘Brown skin/ Masculine frame/ Head’s a target /Acting real feminine / Make ’em vomit’ becoming demented in repetition. Lotic’s voice moulds into the discordant production with a human aspect that both highlights their fears and twists them into a mesmerising act of defiance.
Power is a fascinating album of contradictions. There’s moments of deeply personal and socio-political attestations that command an audience through a powerfully immediate sonic template perfected whilst juxtaposed next to gentler, heavenly sounds. The one-two of ‘Resilience’ into ‘Fragility’ demonstrates these two sides: one that finds an assertive voice through harsh, uncompromising sonic aesthetics and another that hints at the tender vulnerability in all of us that rests between such acts of bravado. Power portrays fears and insecurities and turns them into a personal act of empowerment, taking them and twisting them into Lotic’s own playground of power. There’s an enduring humanity to Power, one that sees Lotic find their voice – both metaphorically and literally – and carve out an album of intricately complex themes.
Image: Tri Angle Records/Lotic