CD: Lorn - Ask the Dust | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Lorn - Ask the Dust
Does a cold, Gothic take on the swagger of hip hop make sense?
Though he first came to public attention via the Los Angeles-based Brainfeeder psychedelic electronic hip hop collective led by Flying Lotus, 25-year-old producer Lorn comes from “the middle of nowhere in Illinois”, and it's easy to see in his music a less sunny disposition than many of his comrades. Most of the Brainfeeder crew have a loose-limbed funkiness to their sound and an accumulation of sonic detail that speaks of heat and humdity. But while Lorn shares their aesthetic of complex rhythms that slip off the grid, there's something chilly and chilling about his industrial-sounding atmospherics.
His 2010 debut album Nothing Else was almost an ambient record, its rhythm sounds often just whispers in the background. Ask the Dust takes a dramatic step forward, with harsh drums (both programmed and “real”) foregrounded, with dub reggae-style echo emphasising their drama and huge subsonic bass notes underpinning their lurching progress. It's clearly influenced by British dubstep, but also brings in a Gothic take on the swagger of recent US hip hop – music for ghosts in lowriders and zombies with rusty bling.
And that hip hop swagger is what makes it: the sound pallette alone could simply suggest an update of the crashing neo-Goth sounds of acts like Nine Inch Nails, but the swing and groove that keeps it moving along turn it into something very new, a fresh cultural synthesis that might actually make you look anew at the sounds that influenced it. Not that it's a sociological exercise, though: this is music that, regardless of its provenance, gets under your skin, its eerie, crackly sound drawing you in and its creepy details emerging more with each listen.
Watch Lorn's "Ghosst(s)" video
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Euphoric celebration of dance music let down by strange orchestration and sound issues
Collection of originals and adaptations bears witness to Taylor's understated brilliance
World Music Fest gets muddy but Senegalese and systems folk group shine
Surfing across the global bandwidths at the top world music festival
A muscular psychedelic debut from Portugal that heads straight for the dance-floor
Welsh star's songs show their age, country pop duo's their youth in spirited alfresco show
The Only Ones frontman pops up for a rare and riveting performance
Torpid sixth album from former freak-folker Andy Cabic
Lavish box set puts a new twist on the great American songbook
The legendary Cuban ensemble’s 40th anniversary celebration doesn’t quite take off
The difficult fourth album from London indie stalwarts
From seaside nostalgia to a consumerist jihadi paradise, we list the sounds of summer