J’Kerian Morgan, a.k.a. Lotic, is about to drop one of the most anticipated albums of the year and the mood is large. With their first proper full length release we see the Berlin resident shedding layers only to reveal something beautiful and strong at their core. The aptly named Power addresses Morgan’s struggle with Berlin, the many musical selves they have, and their experience as a person of color.
The Huston-born sound artist brings a lot of musically clashing influences into the folds of Power: hip-hop, harsh noise, classical, techno/club, and Beyoncé. The album keeps the listener on their toes from the piano and drones of opening track “Love and Light” through to the smoky, androgynous croons of J’Kerian’s own vocals in “Solace”. All of these generas in one stratosphere is naturally polarizing and can at times be hard to digest but with the help of their immaculately manicured nails, Lotic is able to pull them together with effortless ease.
Power’s first single is “Hunted”; a song utilizing whispered vocals reminiscent of a certain mid-2000s radio anthem, along with haunting drones and angular noise. But instead of objectifying women, Lotic confronts their experience and addresses their skin color, the fact that they feel in the middle of America’s crosshairs, the body they were born with, and how they’ve grown from there. The adjoining video of “Hunted” is just as powerful as the song’s lyrics; images of Morgan dragging a body and drowning said body, all while laughing and getting down with themself.
Late-album banger “Nerve” is something to be payed attention to. Drippy, manipulated vocals give shouts to Houston and tell those around them that Lotic ain’t nothin’ to fuck with. The track feels like a nod to Beyoncé’s “Formation,” a song Lotic remixed in 2016, calling the remix “Formation (Election Anxiety/America Is Over Edit)”.
Lotic is premiering Power on July 13th at MONOM, Berlin’s Center for Spatial Sound. The concert will be performed on the 4DSound system, a system that artists construct music specifically for and often spend a week or more in residency perfecting the piece. Lotic gave two of the best performances of the last calendar year (opening for Ben Frost at Funkhaus and then again with Roderick George for CTM Festival) and Power‘s world premier shouldn’t be missed.
Power is out July 13th on Schmutz favorite, Tri-Angle Records.