Experimental trio Son Lux have revealed their highly anticipated first chapter of their three-volume album – Tomorrows I.
The remaining two parts of the album will unfurl over the coming year.
The album comes at a time of considerable uncertainty in the world – and is both ambitious in scope and intent.
Born of an active, intentional approach to shaping sound, the music reminds us of the necessity of questioning assumptions, and of sitting with the tension.
On ‘Tomorrows’, band members Ryan Lott, Rafiq Bhatia, and Ian Chang train their sights on volatile principles: imbalance, disruption, collision, redefinition. But for all of its instability, the album’s exploration of breaking points and sustained frictional places is ultimately in service of something rewarding and necessary: the act of questioning, challenging, tearing down and actively rebuilding one’s own identity.
“We’re peeling things apart and putting them back together throughout this record. Emotionally, relationally, and musically.”
Though Son Lux embraces musical exploration as a foundational practice, the band has never before experimented with format.
‘Tomorrows’ does away with the restrictions of the traditional album, marking a notable departure in feeling from past releases.
Whereas prior Son Lux albums have been packed to the brim with ideas, the three-volume format of ‘Tomorrows’ affords the music space to breathe and develop.
Each release will see songs spun together with minimal instrumental spaces, resulting in a more natural flow while letting sound lead in conveying the complexity and tension of the story.
From the start, Son Lux has operated as something akin to a musical test kitchen, questioning deeply held assumptions and rebuilding music from a molecular level. On ‘Tomorrows’, they sometimes allow the scales to tip, resulting in galvanizing internal violence that pushes songs to their limits.
A prepared guitar melody folds over itself repeatedly, forming a chirping thicket. Drum pulses fan outwards and multiply across registers, aggregating into a throbbing mass. Diving cellos peel apart like weights on a pendulum before snapping together anew.
“The sound of Son Lux is discovered through a very intentional and deliberate process of experimentation where the end result is often entirely unknown. We’re constantly exploring and trying out different options. We can’t anticipate what the music will become.”
While the music on Tomorrows, has been in development for the last three years, the lyrical content was written over the last three months, reflecting the tumultuous energy and paradigm shifts of our relationships to each other, our histories, and our expectations for tomorrow. Son Lux’s songs are constructed through an “inverted” writing process in which the lyrics score the instrumental, as opposed to the other way around. Meaning is often meant to be understood within the context of — or even recontextualized by — the sound.
Son Lux is a geographically and culturally diverse band, with Rafiq Bhatia, Ian Chang, and Ryan Lott each bringing their unique sonic approach to create an otherworldly whole.
Balancing raw emotional intimacy and meticulous electronic constructions, Son Lux have crafted a carefully cultivated musical language all their own, rooted in curiosity, individuality, and commanding creativity.
We’ll say no more of their creative and somewhat potent sublimity. From the lush ambient textures of ‘Dissolve’ to their dystopian almost slow-dance atmosphere of ‘Plans We Made’ to the decadent-like strings in ‘Involution’ that almost seemed like ripples in time or of worlds, we sit back and listen to this chapter with bated breath and both an introspective and retrospective feel.
Listen to their new album below and let us know what you think.
Cover photo: Djeneba Aduayom