Only five years since his debut album ‘At War With Walls And Mazes’ in 2008, Son Lux (AKA Ryan Lott) returns with ‘Lanterns’, his third studio album which is every ounce as powerful and as unique as those before it.
One of the most striking things about this album is its sheer complexity. Lott creates an intricate fusion of classical instrumentation and layer upon layer of electronic harmonies that are again mixed with delicate and pure vocals. When compared with his 2011 album ‘We Are Rising’ which was the result of an intense exercise in spontaneity and speedy production, ‘Lanterns’ has a much more refined feel to it, and as a whole, flows much more freely from one song to the next. Possessing a quality like no other, it is clear that Ryan Lott is somewhat an expert when it comes to creative experimentation and has, with ‘Lanterns’, created a piece that is sure to exceed the expectations of his fans.
The first track, ‘Alternate World’ is the perfect song to open this intriguing album. Lasting only four minutes, the song contains haunting melodies which are able to carry the imagination to a strange and undiscovered place. The lyrics somehow take second place, serving to emphasise the heartfelt music which creates and expresses such a mixture of emotions. ‘Lost it to Trying’ then takes over and from start to finish creates a dramatic story that captures the mind, all the while remaining as melodic and soothing as the song before it. This theme continues throughout the album with each song as dramatic as the next, yet blending together so well that you’re only certain all nine have played when the album finishes.
Towards the end of ‘Lanterns’, songs such as ‘No Crimes’ pick up the pace and begin a new, more upbeat path that ultimately leads to the end of Lott’s third album. ‘Enough Of Our Machines’ begins with a beautifully contemplative piano section which is just long enough to remind you of the fact that Ryan Lott is actually a classically trained musician, though about halfway through, the electronic beats begin, and you’re once more on the journey through fantasy that ‘Another World’ set you on.
Another perfectly placed song comes in the form of the finale ‘Lanterns Lit’. This song lasts only three minutes, though is perhaps one of the most powerful of the album. A background in composing music for dance choreography gives Lott the skill to create emotional scenes and pictures with compelling music, and when combined with Lyrics such as “I’m Losing You To The Sea”, it isn’t hard to imagine the magnitude of an effect this small piece can have on you- especially when it comes at the end of a chain of songs which have all in some way danced with your emotions.
As a whole, ‘Lanterns’ is an album which can be listened to over and over again, and each time you are able to take something new from the experience. When asked what influenced the album, Lott said “My experiences made me, and I made lanterns…” and so here we are left with nine songs which can be as personal to each person that listens to them as they are to the man who created them. Though hard to describe to someone who has yet to hear these songs, if you are looking for music which pushes the creative boundaries, ‘Lanterns’ is definitely for you.