These simultaneously released EPs collect songs recorded during Lotus’s Hammerstrike sessions plus a few remixes, and refreshingly, they successfully stand alone, not tasting a single bit like leftovers. Gems like “Cain and Abel” and “Grayrigg” truly make this required listening for anyone with even a vague interest in Lotus. It’s an interesting concept and they pulled it off beautifully, featuring both of their split personalities, the shimmering post/jam-rock side with Feather On Wood, and their darker live house electro leanings for Oil On Glass. Musically, they are a band that appears to love contrast—light and dark, heavy and soft—not just within a single song, but within their catalog as a whole. Here they took it to the next level and simultaneously released two EPs that focus on celebrating this contrast.
Feather On Wood‘s opening “Marisol” starts off slowly with an almost somber tone before quickly shifting to fuzzy distortion, then climbing its way to hope-filled sunshine. Skytree’s dreamy “Turquoise (Prussian Blue Remix)” takes a Lotus rarity, a song with vocals, and strips them away, and ultimately doesn’t really resemble the original much at all. On “Cain and Abel,” it’s good old-fashioned tension and release, with killer builds and stunning guitar harmonies. Play “72 Hrs Awake” followed up by “Scrapple” from Oil On Glass, and as completely far apart as they are musically, you can still easily tell it’s the same band, which is a huge accomplishment and speaks to the painstaking development of their trademark sound.
The dubbed-out elasticity of “Simian” kicks off Oil On Glass, setting the tone for the darker, dirtier side of Lotus featured throughout this EP. The Kypski remix of “Hammerstrike” is pure fuzzy, glitchy, wobble bass-filled fun, a banging new take on an already strong tune that is most definitely worth your time. “Grayrigg” is definitley one of the best of the bunch, and in a way it would have been at home on either album, as it really blends all of Lotus’ musical directions into one soaring, glitchy dance-inducing throwdown. The “Alkaline” remix doesn’t stray too far from the original musically, but adds decent vocals from Othello, who obviously worked hard to fit with the song instead of just recycling some of his own rhymes like lesser guest MCs frequently do elsewhere.
When some have dogged Lotus in the past for having vastly different styles in their musical mix, thankfully they’ve got the clarity and maturity to realize that their fearless diversity is actually their ultimate weapon. Think of these EPs as their thesis, as they rightfully earn their Masters’ in Musical Contrast.