Words & Images by: Jake Krolick
Certain albums need three or four good listens before you "get it." At War with Walls and Mazes (released by Anticon on March 11) is a perfect example of a record needing a bit of patience and multiple spins before the listener lets go and falls deeply in lust with Son Lux.
At first you're struck by a soft, uneasy feeling. At War with Walls and Mazes lands close to Street Spirit(Fade Out) , a Radiohead single whose b-sides are mixed with a heavy dose of atmospheric grandeur commonly found in nature yet painstakingly captured in an electronic album. Imagine driving through a snowstorm at night. It's haphazard yet peaceful as snow wafts against the windshield in a rhythmic way. However, under the calming white there is an unnerving edge to the drive that looms. This is how the album's first spin sits, but by the second listen the music of Ryan Lott (aka Son Lux) takes a stand as the listener digs into his lyrics. You hear him take one of the simplest stances as he sings, "Put down all your weapons/Let me in through your open wounds."
On your third spin, "Betray" reaches out, making you wonder if it really is just that simple. A soft bass-filled beat tosses your head and neck into the urban bounce. The groove flows nicely into Son Lux singing a dinner invitation to an undisclosed lover. There is a simplistic beauty in the way At War with Walls and Mazes pieces together symphonies of greatness with bits of catchy, organic, yet definitively electronic melodies. The songs are in constant flux as the album refuses to let the listener predict the next twist or turn. Bursts of violin, drums, and organ lash out one moment only to reveal an aria the next. Each step is on shaky ground as you walk through a world where tempo is the only constant.
At War with Walls and Mazes is not for the casual listener. You need to want to open your ears and explore a void filled with patient music that undulates at a half-step ahead of the curve.
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