As they prepare for the release of their new studio album Free Swim, out August 21st, long-running instrumental-electronic quintet Lotus has released a second track off the forthcoming collection, “Bjorn Gets A Haircut.” The in-studio, animated video for “Bjorn Gets A Haircut” was filmed at Spice House Sound in their hometown of Philadelphia, where the entire album was recorded earlier this year. Free Swim will be available digitally and on vinyl and is available now for pre-order at www.lotusvibes.com; each pre-order includes an instant download of lead single “Catacombs.”
“‘Bjorn Gets a Haircut’ is a head-bopping cosmic disco tune,” explains Luke Miller (keyboards, guitar). “It takes cues from the Nordic disco playbooks of producers like Todd Terje and Lindstrom. The main hook is a Mellotron vocal ‘Oh’ patch leading into a chorus of slick chromatic chord changes on the piano. The guitar takes over in the middle for an improvisatory freeride.”
“Video was shot while we tracked live at Spice House Sound,” adds Jesse Miller (bass, modular synth). “The animation was created using the same live-reactive system I have been building for Lotus’s live show. I used triggers from the drums and other music elements while tweaking parameters live on a MIDI controller and all of these data interact with randomized and evolving calculations in the custom video generation program.”
Free Swim mines dance grooves from soulful funk to dirty disco to build instrumental songs with a signature Lotus sound that will make its listeners want to move. The 10-track album, written and produced by Luke and Jesse, pays homage to the greats of music’s past, built on the bones of what the five members of Lotus listen to and have absorbed over time. Free Swim opens with the jazzy-house single “Catacombs,” which was inspired by everyone from Daft Punk and St. Germain to Nile Rodgers and has been hailed “infectious” by BrooklynVegan. The chorus on title track “Free Swim,” whose groove is built on a galloping piano riff and a syncopated guitar melody, is full of summer brightness with the guitar and synth repeating against a bass line that bounces like bare feet on a hot pavement. Free Swim is an eclectic and groovy instrumental mix of funk, disco, jazz and psychedelia, looking to bring happiness and joy to listeners. The forthcoming album marks the band’s 10th full-length studio album overall, not including their multiple live, EP and remix collections, and is the follow-up to their 2018 audio and video album experience Frames Per Second.
In celebration of the release of Free Swim, Lotus will return to the live stage on Friday, September 4th for one night only as part of the Live-In/Drive-In concert series, presented by Live Nation Philadelphia and Budweiser Zero in partnership with the Philadelphia Phillies, in the parking lot adjacent to Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. For tickets and more info, visit: http://phillies.com/drivein.
“It has without a doubt been a trying time for everyone,” shares Jesse. “As a band who has built our sound, following and career around live performances, it has been tough to cancel show after show. With all that in mind, we are embracing the chance to play this unique drive-in show. While it might be different than packing onto a dance floor, we hope we can take this opportunity to capture the magic and energy that is improvised music played live.”
Lotus has always been difficult to define musically; an instrumental jamband that has favored groove-based improvisation instead of gaudy solos and noodling. Influences of classic electronic dance music, funk, post-rock and dance-rock have all made their way into the Lotus sound. Over the years, their unique musical blend helped forge a new path in the jamband landscape, influencing many younger bands in the scene. Albums such as their debut studio release, Nomad (2006) have become a touchstone for how to organically fuse elements of electronica with jam music, and the band continues to evolve through each tour and album bringing in new sounds and writing styles. Since their formation two decades ago, Lotus – Mike Greenfield (drums), Jesse Miller (bass, modular synth), Luke Miller (keyboards, guitar), Mike Rempel (guitar) and Chuck Morris (percussion) – has toured actively throughout the US working their way up from dingy basement clubs to world-class venues such as Red Rocks. They’ve become festival favorites, playing everything from Bonnaroo, Camp Bisco and Outside Lands to Ultra Music Festival and Electric Forest, building a hyper-loyal following along the way. Lotus also hosts their annual SummerDance Festival in Garrettsville, Ohio. A Lotus live show is an experience, a uniquely crafted and improvised set taking everyone, the crowd and band, on a journey.