90FM Album Review:Lotus-"Build"
Taylor Christian


Lotus have been a landmark in the scene of jamtronica music for over a decade now. Formed back in ’99, the band has built a reputation for producing jazz-inclined electronic funk music with one incredibly complex light set up at their live shows. In 2001 the band recorded their first full-length album, Vibes, a collection of live performances that they released on their own before signing to Harmonized records. In the ensuing years the band released eight more albums and made the jump to Sci Fidelity Records, growing from an ear-catching electro jam group to a multi-genre powerhouse. The band has incorporated genres from electronica to rock to funk to jazz, citing inspiration from bands like Kraftwerk, the Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and Broken Social Scene.

With their brand new album Build we see Lotus bringing in more than just inspiration from all of these other bands and genres, expanding pretty heavily into new instrumentation. The band’s last album, which was their self-titled recording, saw the introduction of blasting horns, chopped up vocals, and an array of new synths to their repertoire. On Build many of these experiments find their comfortable place in the crisp and alternative music the band showed us they were capable of back in 2008 with Hammerstrike. The horns have expanded to create full brass sounds lend a strong funk tone to the heavier tracks, and the ever increasing synth array helps to lend additional depth to the album. The end of the album brings probably the most diversity per second of song in the two-parter “Neon Tubes.” The rich, but fading tone of the opening synth would feel right at home in a crowded disco, but eventually slides into a bass-heavy swing-rave tune that snakes back in anybody off put by even the faintest hint of disco. By the end of the two tracks, “Neon Tubes” has undergone enough genre changes to be its own album, and brings a perfect end to the album, if perhaps a bit dark at the very end. If you haven’t checked out Lotus in the fourteen years they’ve given you, Build is a great point to join the party.