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’s production frequently deals in contrasts, as seen on Fragility: delicate bell pads resonate for a couple of bars at a time before being abruptly cut off, leaving just bass and windy background noise, and the last minute of the track also features abrasive metallic sounds that sound like samples of a close-miced car crash. The result is an interesting and very powerful track, and throughout the record it isn’t uncommon for beautiful synth sounds to be complemented by bursts of noise in a way that is reminiscent of Arca’s work with Björk.
The title track follows a circular structure, starting beatless with a dainty melody line over a rumbling bassline, moving into more intense territory with skittering speed metal drums and frantic synth burbles, then returning to the original melody for the song’s conclusion. Solace then ends the album on an empowering note, with the lyrics “Now I can just be / how I feel, who I see / nothing scares me / just gon’ be me for me”. Overall, Power is a highly impressive body of work from a producer who continues to engage and surprise with each release.