Lotus: Hammerstrike

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By: Chase Sewell

Here we go with another example that demonstrates that any all-encompassing, one-word genre for experimental, eclectic music (namely, “livetronica”) is subject to failure. Embracing rhythmic grooves and dissolving such boundaries, Lotus are back again with their album Hammerstrike (released October 14 on SCI Fidelity Records). Elements of post-rock, pop, electronic, world music and jazz fusion are all present, but if one pays too much attention to rigid labels or classifications the emotional content of this music can slip right by. Expect nothing.

In comparison to previous albums, Hammerstrike finds Lotus slightly more grounded in the direction of composition. This additional concentration allows for build-ups and thematic peaks that occasionally get blurred whenever musicians attempt improvisational techniques in the studio. An intentional focus on this album results in an onslaught of guitar lines that linger and stretch to the sky, explosive percussion bridges, sprinkled vocals, nuanced electronic touches and a free form methodology that manages to control the seemingly uncontrollable.

Staying true to the Lotus vibe, the feel of the music is downright funky at times and beautifully tranquil at others. More dramatic changes in mood and tempo seem to occur between tracks rather than in the songs themselves. The art of this lies in the balance, and with Lotus it never seems predictable. Cruising down this ambiguous river means the musicians are able to masterfully flow between seriousness and playfulness without getting lost on their own ride. Blow after blow, Hammerstrike shows us the ins and outs of creativity and gives us a valuable tool for exploring and enjoying the many faces of rhythm.

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