Lotic – Power (Album Review)

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For Berlin-based electronic artist, Lotic, it’s the spaces in-between where the magic happens. As a founder of the legendary Janus collective, Lotic has taken listeners on sonic journeys that explore the middle ground between genres – mixing electronics with R&B, trap and experimental sounds to create a space of their own.

After a collection of EP’s we’re finally blessed with debut LP, Power a record of assured and moving songs that never fails to amaze. Lotic has described Power as “a bit of a reaction to the wildness of the world” and in that way, the music created here is a great fit.

Opener ‘Love and Light’ at first seems to lure listeners down a dark path with a deep synth slithering to the surface, but then the track starts to glisten with shimmery as those synths open up into something magical. It’s almost like Lotic is daring us to come along at first and when we’ve proven our commitment they show us the beauty deep within. This is a common theme on Power, the harshness we surround ourselves in is often times a protection from pain and only when we trust someone do we open up.

This is helped by the addition of Lotic including their own vocals on many of Power’s tracks. Just like SOPHIE’s release from this year, the seemingly simple addition of singing ends up having a huge and moving effect on the songs. Take lead single ‘Hunted’, for example – Lotic’s whispering is disarming at first but the continuous chant of, “Brown skin, masculine frame, head’s a target. Actin’ real feminine, make them vomit” gives the song a dark, personal, and heartbreaking edge.

It’s not all dower though, as Lotic finds space for a few empowering anthems. ‘Bulletproof’ has Lotic using that screen of personal protection and flips it into a glitched out banger, while ‘Nerve’ sounds lyrically akin to Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ and sonically like an OPN song.

The album ends with perhaps the most moving and reassuring track, ‘Solace’. Sounding a bit forlorn at first, Lotic sounds more assured as the song climaxes and, in turn, we end up believing that “it’s gon’ be ok.”

And where Lotic is finding a newfound confidence in their voice, the music surrounding it takes steps forward. Reminiscent of Arca’s latest release the production on Power is constantly shifting the listener out of their comfort zone. Abrasive tones are placed against bell pads and twinkling synths to create an at first jarring effect but as you get into Lotic’s world you can’t help but be sucked in.

Yet while it’s certainly affecting it at sometimes hampers the mood created through the rest of the record. While I enjoyed the trilogy of instrumental tracks in the middle of the record, they don’t add much to the emotional powerhouses that surround them. But it’s not that bad when the main complaint is that there are certain tracks that are so good you can’t wait to hear them.

For those interested in a moving and eclectic electronic record Power is one of the years best. Lotic has, in this release, come into their own and within the beauty of these songs finds a peace that’s all-consuming.

Power is out now on Tri Angle.