Gettin’ Giddy: We Are Rising by Son Lux

We don’t do record reviews at One21music but, there are some recordings you just can’t help getting giddy about, like We Are Rising by Son Lux.

Son Lux We Are Rising

Eight mournful moans from an organ…then silence…faint strings and a singular voice wander into the silence, but they never make it…the organ is back for four more groans but this time,on the fringes, we hear a woman’s operatic voice that carries us into a few singular notes on a piano as birds join the strings that re-emerged from nowhere…then Son Lux sings in his fragile, melancholy voice: “I can see the fickers..” and we are off on a sonic journey like I have rarely experienced in the past five decades.

Nine mini be-bop symphonies weave together to create a 35 minute masterpiece that rivals Moby‘s Play as the most innovative electronic album ever made.  And it was made in 28 days.  Son Lux (Ryan Lott) accepted a challenge from NPR to create an album, from concept to publishing, in the shortest month of the year.  This is in contrast with his 2008 masterpiece At War With Walls & Mazes, which took four years to make and his current project, three years in the making, that he put on hold to take this NPR challenge.  To make it even more challenging Son Lux recorded all of the instruments live.  So not only did he take on a challenge to move his process at supersonic speed, but to also complicated the process by gathering musicians from all over the country to help him.  In an interview an April 2011 interview with NPR he explains why.

“Sample libraries are fantastic for mockups. And through the process of heavy manipulation, which I do frequently, they can be incredible assets. And it’s maybe weird to sound so old school, but humans in a room, on instruments that they’ve fought with and learned to love over the course of decades, there is absolutely no substitute for that. And that comes through a microphone. Not only that, but dude, it is so unbelievably fun to work with other people. And it’s partly my arrogance and megalomania, but I love to hear other people play my stuff and interpret it through their limbs and vocal chords. It’s totally thrilling and scratches my ego in an awesome way.[Laughs]“

“Flowers” is an achingly sad song that begins with Son Lux singing over sparse piano and xylophone “Are those my flowers in your hand?  You don’t remember dressing up?”  The music all but stops as the singer chants “Empty vows, empty cup” and the music pauses into silence for only a moment.  The the final minute of the song is a flourish of beautiful sounds.  It paints a picture for me of a young man looking at pictures with an elderly woman while she begins to drift back into her memories of her joyful youth.  You can almost see her dancing in a park with the boy of her dreams.

“Let Go” breaks forth with multiple discordant rhythms that immediately demand your attention.  This is music Elaine Benes could dance to.  The only lyrics are “let get, let go, let go” sung in urgent triplets.  Is Son Lux telling us to free ourselves from our fear of failure, our aversion to embarrassment?  I could go on and on reviewing every song but I will stop by telling you that Son Lux has created a musical recording of jarring beauty and intense feeling.

Here is a hypnotizing example of We Are Rising as Son Lux plays “Leave The Riches” in New York

You can listen to samples of Son Lux‘s We Are Rising on the One21 music Son Lux page.

We Are Rising has been available for a couple of weeks as an mp3, but this thing is so good you will want a physical copy.  We Are Rising will not be available at the local
Wal Mart or Best Buy so most of us will need to go to Amazon to buy the cd or vinyl.  If you just can’t wait you can buy the mp3 at amazon now.

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