The first Lotus pressing I ever got my hands on was their last, Monks, this tight little package that threw-back to the glory days of trip-hop you’d never hear about unless you were in—(see Deltron 3030, Doctor Octagon, et. al.)—and, in the process, brought the mellow-fellow known as Doodlebug and his “Cloud 9” musings into my life. Here was, far as I could say, a honed-vet jam band biting hip-hop, and I dug it. Now, listening to Gilded Age the first time around, I’m just thinking—the hell are we going this time?
Age has an entirely younger sound than Monks, one that caters to the cool kids over the once-cool. The set features a sixer of new jam-rock tracks, plus a handful of reworks to satisfy any downbeat electronica-philes in the audience. And, if we’re being honest, it tickles me right pink that we’ve still got anyone around these days who can play the field like Lotus continues to do, record after record, on and on—I mean, you don’t hear Mac Miller riffing on Disco Biscuits too often, do ya? (Well, you might, but that’s beside the point...) No, Lotus never got the memo to stay home on the Phish farm, and the result is a unique body of work that ebbs and flows free of the trendy tides or jam generics.
And it’s not really that Gilded Age is just good, per say—Monks was good—Age, while similarly solid in delivery, has those subtle intangibles that really make a record last—the titular “Gilded Age” stands my litmus “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” test and sprinkles these beautiful little bits about a crunchy bass-session that never goes too far off the deep end; then there’s mi favorita, “The Oaks,” which had me half-expecting one of today’s unce-unce’ers (see Tiesto) to come in with some hand-throwing house drops until the whole thing went down on a “Sleepyhead” trip instead and couldn’t help but give me that you-know-it-must-be-good urge to just f—king drive, until you’re somehow arriving at this lost little shrine to Jerry Garcia, pixies darting about, sprinkling their angel dust for anyone in the vicinity to catch.
Or, something like that.
So yeah, I’m pretty much sold on Lotus—anyone who can roll with Tycho, Company Flow and Mux Mool without skipping a beat is alright in my book—and Gilded Age is just one of many, many sounds on the band’s radio waves. Like this particular set or not, but you can’t sleep on the effort.