Box Set Vol. 1
Reissues & Remnants
Around 2008 Ryan Lott asked himself this question: ”Can I make a pop record that doesn’t rely on a verse/chorus formula?” In many ways Lott’s first two releases as Son Lux represent his response to that query. At War WIth Walls & Mazes and We Are Rising document one of the most compelling musicians of the 21st century finding a distinctive creative voice, while making strikingly original music along the way.
The soundscapes Lott created merged a panoramic symphonic palette with the propulsive rhythmic urgency of hip-hop. The only thing missing was a voice, a role Lott hadn’t intended to fill himself. "Some friends helped me to hear in my own voice something that really worked with the music,” Lott says. “My voice was very fragile and emotive, while instrumentally-speaking the music I was creating was architectural and precise. Somewhere in the combination of those two ideas it all worked. So I became a singer."
The decision to release At War With Walls & Mazes and We Are Rising on the underground rap label Anticon was natural for Lott. “I thought of what I was doing as hip-hop,” he explains. Lott feels this moment provides a good opportunity to reexamine these releases. "They've both been out of print for awhile. But more importantly, I'm proud of the music, and I feel like it set the right foundation for my catalogue as Son Lux, so it makes sense to bring it back on vinyl and shed some light on it now that the project has a broader audience."
Joyful Noise Recordings' reissue of the first two Son Lux LPs also includes a third LP titled Remnants, featuring a compelling collection of rare and previously unreleased recordings. "Remnants comes from a wide span of time covering 2008 to 2017,” Lott says. “Over the years I've written a lot of music for ballet and dance; I still do. Sometimes those commissions call for songs, so from time to time I'll find myself writing and singing songs for ballet, and it becomes a Son Lux thing. There are also a couple tracks where I revisited and reimagined existing Son Lux songs from the ground up. One of those songs is 'Stand' from the first record. Another song is 'Enough of Our Disease,' which is a new version of the similarly titled song from Lanterns."
A decade after inception, Son Lux has shifted from Lott’s singular vision into a three-piece ensemble featuring virtuoso musicians Ian Chang on drums, and Rafiq Bhatia on guitar. But Lott’s initial Son Lux recordings still point toward an exciting musical future that contemporary pop music has yet to realize.