Lithops — Scrypt
(Thrill Jockey Thrill-32, 2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2005-03-01Far from the reaches of electronic music as mere impetus for dancing, or even the spacious universe of ambient soundscapes, lies the realm of Lithops. Picture a two-dimensional coordinate system for electronic music. On the X axis you have the continuum that runs from ambient drone (-10) at one end to beat-pounding dance music (+10) at the other. The Y axis goes from chaotic academic electronic music (-10) to Tomita/Synergy electronic classicism (+10). Lithops averages at about (0,-8): things change much too fast for any suggestion of relaxation, and there is little hint of melody, tonality, or sometimes even pulse, though sounds reminiscent of percussion instruments occasionally turn up. When there is a detectable beat, it’s the kind of thing that seems to coalesce out of mist, like a pattern that emerges slowly from an out-of-focus blur, revealing lines and shapes if not recognizable objects. And for all the abstraction, it’s still appealing, with a kind of charm, as if a group of cute but hyperactive aliens got together with a bunch of synthesizers and started messing around without reading the owners’ manuals. It may be folk music on their planet, but on ours it’s a curious mixture of things that don’t go together. There’s obviously an underlying logic to it, but our minds can only guess at it. Certainly this is not music for everyone (at least not on this planet!), but for those willing to stretch out a bit into the chaotic country, it’s worth a listen.
Related artist(s): Lithops (Jan St Werner)
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more