I’m always interested in how electronic musicians insert humanity into their mix. There’s space for pure militancy in the minimal techno of Robert Hood or Studio One, but the best IDM cats always knew how to craft a good melody, and DJ Shadow’s lust for analog gives him his undying psychedelic appeal.
Today’s moment sees a lot of artists clashing the electronic and human elements into a more blurred mix, a texture making the divide between electronic drive and melodic/vocal work inseparable. Along with the likes of FKA Twigs, Arca, or even Death Grips, Lotic falls into this categorization, crafting a world that is at once viciously inhuman and fully alive.
“Hunted” enters with a whisper: “brown skin masculine frame, heads a target/Actin’ real feminine, make em’ vomit.” In a world where femininity and black masculinity are both frowned upon, I’m sure one can feel like a whisper among caustic electronic violence when walking down the street. Aside from that juxtaposition, the music also incorporates eerie vocal oohs that are matched by plucked keyboard sounds and broken up by bubbling artificial bass pulses. Another aspect of queerness is how one feels like the world is just built differently from them so this blurring of electronics and vocals also reads into that feeling as the human opening erodes into something other.
Towards the end of “Bulletproof,” the vocals are doubled with one take deep in Lotic’s range and lightly auto-tuned, “I’m a bulletproof ni**a,” again blurring the space. The title track opens with shimmering electronics, before disruption in the form of a drum sample—perhaps a bit further removed from a specifically human feel, but still in the vein of colliding worlds.
Power isn’t quite like Laurel Halo’s obsessive recalculation of the human voice Dust, however, the work shatters song-form, colliding artificiality and human touch to capture the violent erosion of feeling other.
-Donovan Burtan 8/10