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Lotus formed at a Mennonite college that had banned on-campus dancing as late as the 1980's, and has been creatively fusing electronic dance music with instrumental post-rock for the past eight years. Armed with a massive light rig and one of the most energetic shows on the circuit, Lotus was a go-to act for late night festival slots this past summer, performing at ROTHBURY, Summerfest, Camp Bisco, and others. Also in 2008, Lotus saw advance sellouts in venues throughout the U.S. including Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh, two nights at World Café Live in Philadelphia, two nights at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Higher Ground in Burlington, Kinetic Playground in Chicago. The band's remix album, Copy Paste Repeat: Lotus Remixed was released to critical acclaim, and came on the heels of their double live CD release, Escaping Sargasso Sea.
Hammerstrike finds the band reaching back in order to move forward. Primarily recorded live in one room to analog tape by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man), the album captures a sound that harkens back to the 70's but never slips into nostalgic retreads. The compositions are focused and melodic, filled out with orchestration including swelling violins and cellos, banjo, wordless choirs, and electronic noises. Though the tracks range from dance floor ready rockers to soaring post-rock instrumentals, the album is held together by a sanguine spirit pervading each track. The big guitars, feedback, and distortion serve an optimistic purpose. It is a decidedly American feel that invokes big skies, open roads, and a zealous yet naïve pursuit of the idea that defeat will never be conceded. What critics have been saying about Lotus:
"... simultaneously making waves on the jam, indie and electronica scenes thanks to a series of well-crafted albums." - Relix
"Lotus continue to expand upon its post-everything rock/electronic/jazz/free-form pastiche." - Big Shot Magazine
"...intent on creating a new genre (few try that these days)...it is rock, and smart disco, funk and soul, piano pop, world music, and modern alienation stuff and jazz fusion you can dance to all wrapped up in cellophane." -Big Takeover
Top Customer Reviews
The band Lotus has a very individualistic sound on their album Hammerstrike. Though there is just a spattering of tracks with some vocal involvement on it, the majority of the album allows the instrumentation to do the talking for the band. There is a very danceable feel to the music of Hammerstrike and the blending of electronica, jazz and a pop-rock sound really pans out nicely for the band. The end product of the mixing of forces for the band is an album that has a distinct sound that is both enjoyable and powerful.
After listening to this album it is easy to see why Lotus draws a rather diverse and large demographic to its live shows since there is a vitality to their music that makes the listener really get into the music of the band. With each track the music becomes more and more impressive and wraps the listener up in an appreciation for the instrumental sounds that the band is capable of. The remarkable thing about this album is that though each track is varied from the next there is a uniform excellence to the overall production of the album that holds true from beginning to end.
Members of Lotus include Steve Clemens, Chuck Morris, Mike Rempel, Luke Miller and Jesse Miller.
The album starts off nicely with the track Behind Midwest Storefronts which is a great introductory glance into the music of Lotus. This track has a perhaps a bit less of a dance scene instrumental sound to it than others on the track but it serves as the ideal introduction into the album since the music is sort of warm, soft and inviting. With a nice repetitive guitar sound clearly at work on the track, the guitar sound brings the listener through the track and serves sort of as the welcome mat to the rest of the album.
Age of Inexperience is one of the tracks on the album that does in fact bring a vocal component into the album. There is a sort of distant and almost club feel to the vocals on this track that almost seems to detract from the rest of the album. It seems as though the band almost could have left this track off as there was not a need to throw vocals into the album.
Alkaline is a quirky little track that encompasses a real electronic sound to the instrumentation. With a sort of old school Nintendo vibe to the music, the band branches out a bit more to show a more modern feel that could perhaps serve as a nice backdrop sound in a posh club perhaps. The beat to this track is very fast and serves sort of as a musical mind trip thanks in parts to the non-traditional sounds that work their way throughout the track. Nonetheless, though different in nature the music is still solidly performed and translates on the album nicely.
1. Behind Midwest Storefronts
2. Age of Inexperience
6. Invincibility of Youth
7. One Last Hurrah
10. Disappear in a Blood-Red Sky
After listening to Hammerstrike by Lotus one clearly gains an appreciation for what instrumental music is capable of. Though this kind of instrumental sound might indeed not be for everyone, the music of Lotus is the ideal music to throw on while in the office and simply let the music work in the background of all the clutter and noise around. The music brings the listener into the album nicely and the listener is left appreciating the capacity that this band has to reach into so many different genres of music to create an album that while being varied and unique is still polished and complete.
Hammerstrike is on the Sci Fidelity Records label. For more information about Lotus, check out their website at [...]