LOTIC

Power

Tri-Angle Records

$36.00

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Lotic, as both an artist and DJ, commands your full attention. Their DJ sets are thrilling and unpredictable, shifting from R&B and ballroom to pop and rap. (They're likely to include a couple of ravaged Beyonce reworks as well.) Lotic, AKA J'Kerian Morgan, exudes a palpable sexual energy onstage. In a typical DJ set, they might suggestively bend and contort their body, relishing the spotlight behind (and on) the decks. This fierce spirit carries through into Lotic's jarring bass experiments, whose corrosive sounds evade conventional forms—they're best thought of as treacherous soundscapes of unearthly shrieks, tectonic bass and brutalised vocal samples.

Morgan's music can be dizzyingly frantic, but there's a compelling emotional intelligence within it. In an interview in 2015, Morgan said their confrontational music and provocative image is not just a matter of aesthetics or personal catharsis, but is a form of protest against homophobia, racism and misogyny in club culture. "If I don't say 'I'm gay, I'm black' and take these really feminine photos," they once said, "then I feel like I'm failing some kind of responsibility I have to piss these people off."

This principle has never been louder than on Morgan's debut album, Power, which, paradoxically, is their softest and most human-sounding release to date. Beside the raucous revolts of Heterocetera and Agitations, Power feels like the introspective aftermath, and an unapologetic embrace of vulnerability. Morgan sings and raps on the LP, the first time they've used their voice on their records. That helps make Power their most accessible release. The singing is charmingly unpolished, ranging from the ethereal high-notes of "Love And Light" to the airy drama of "Heart," the LP's best vocal track. The whisper raps on "Nerve" and "Hunted," by contrast, suggest a sense of contempt. There are even a couple of full-on sentimental ballads, "Heart" and "Solace."

The record was made during a two-year period in which Morgan was homeless and struggling with their gender identity. There is a visceral sense of relief, like a gust of wind, running through tracks like "Love And Light," "Fragility" and "Resilience," where the music is luminous and spacious. "Hunted," meanwhile, addresses the disdainful stares that transfeminine people endure. "Brown skin, masculine frame, head's a target / Actin' real feminine, make 'em vomit," Morgan whispers, dragging their words like a corpse over pulpy bass. Morgan has said their affinity with Texan marching bands is integral to the LP. The effect is a sense of defiance. Though that sound is most clearly heard on the clattering drums of "The Warp And The Waft," the underlying sentiment—a battle cry for the queer community—runs throughout PowerReview - Resident Advisor

Tracklist
A1 Love & Light
A2 Hunted
A3 Bulletproof
A4 Distribution Of Care
A5 The Warp & The Weft
A6 Resilience
B1 Fragility
B2 Nerve
B3 Heart
Featuring – Moro (9)
B4 Power
B5 Solace
B6 Burn A Print