Nowadays it’s as if everyone is some sort of perfectionist or other. For many, the painstaking process of creating something – may it be a story, an essay, a birdhouse, a song – is a developmental experience that brings about both anger and frustration. Many musicians have constantly revived and remixed their music a la Trent Reznor to an extreme measure, while others are still learning the careful balance between obsession and meticulous care.
For New York’s Ryan Lott, his Son Lux project was built around the careful process of creating an album over laborious hours of hard work and it definitely seemed to pay dividends with his 2008 album, At War with Walls and Mazes. So it was definitely interesting to note that, working side-by-side with NPR for a recoding project, Lott would craft his follow-up to that aforementioned album in the span of one short month in February. But what’s also certainly evident is the way Lott showcases his skill and ability to present an album that might be just as good; a unique presence in music, Lott has now delivered an album that is mightily gorgeous.
Fusing sounds that combine pounding drums, fascinating strings, stunning winds and horns, blistering electronics and more: We Are Rising is the kind of album that certainly takes you by surprise. “Flickers” and its cinematic-like strings shudder against the backdrop of chilling atmospherics and as Lott introduces his new method of music – sounding like a blend between Owen Pallett’s Final Fantasy and contemporary classics – there is a resurging nod to the aesthetic value of music. Songs shimmer with a pulsating heart and Lott is able to add flourishing touches wherever he sees fit. By the time you reach “Let Go” and its spinning instruments – as a clarinet and flute battle the melody from line to line, between the spliced voices throughout as they chant the song title in furious repetition – the wide palette of sound that Lott has unleashed is an impeccable one.
Through this process in making We Are Rising during such a short time-frame, Lott receives a lending hand from timely guests throughout. On “Leave the Riches” Lott introduces the sounds with a despairing tone before the gurgling beats come in. Opting to play guitar, Lott gives way to My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Worden for a soaring appearance. And earlier, on “Rising,” Lott is joined by DM Stith and The Antlers’ Peter Silberman for a conducive pairing of electronic flurries. The music transitions from a subtle, soft touch to a louder, forceful rendering as Lott places the focus on the seamless transitions. Thus the songs are able to evolve as full-formed works in the greater scheme of the picture and although Lott’s spectrum of sounds is multi-faceted, the variety simply adds more dimension.
Ultimately and fortunately, Lott proves that he is unquestionably able to produce great music in any time-frame. Perhaps it comes from a dedicated beginning in classical music, or perhaps from the fact that Lott has always been able to take his impressive ear for melody and mesh it with brilliant electronic sounds. Whatever it is, We Are Rising is a remarkable album to take, in regardless of how long it took to make. And for Lott, a terrific vision to perhaps, again partake of in the future.