For an African-American trans musician living in Berlin, where they were briefly homeless during the making of this record, choosing the word “power” as the title of a debut full-length record is a strong statement, to say the least.
Born J’Kerian Morgan in Houston, where their musical career started by playing in high school marching bands, Lotic is an instrumental artist whose music feels political even before you find out their backstory. It’s post-Aphex Twin distorted electronic music, which is likely what appealed to Bjork when she invited Lotic to remix a recent track (a track co-produced by Arca, with whom Lotic shares many aesthetic similarities). It’s also rooted in Southern hip-hop, rhythmically, which gives it more bounce than many others in this scene—not that it’s remotely similar to club music, however, though modern dance choreographers can and should have a field day with this record. In its more cathartic and lurching moments, there are also nods to the sprawling emotional landscapes of Sigur Ros.
Lotic’s music achieves, in part, what the recent collaboration between Daniel Lanois andVenetian Snares could not, a head-spinning array of sonic pleasures and punishments. The drum hits here can feel like a shot to the gut; this music is about living with the very real threat of everyday violence. “I’m bulletproof,” intones Lotic on one of the few tracks here to feature vocals, and they’re not just channelling Luke Cage. Another track here is called “Resilience,” which sums up the entire record: situating beautiful and uplifting passages in a ragged landscape. “Brown skin, masculine frame / head’s a target / acting real feminine / make ’em vomit,” goes the chanted chorus of “Hunted.”
Power, the album, is about transformation, between worlds, between identities. “Finding my own power was living in my femininity,” Lotic told Fact Magazine. No question their personal life bleeds into the music, but the music itself is powerful just on its own terms, especially when Lotic’s surprisingly beautiful, crooning voice takes the lead on the closing track, “Solace.” (July 27)
Stream: “Love and Light,” “Hunted,” “Resilience”