Son Lux – We Are Rising & the making of the cover art

Album art for Son Lux's We Are Rising

There has been a lot of high-profile/0n-my-radar music released in the past few weeks, and for some reason only a small portion of it is living up to my expectations. One album that surpassed what I expected is Son Lux‘s sophomore album We Are Rising. I’ve mentioned Son Lux before, but I really think that this new offering deserves further note.

For an album made start to finish in 28 days, We Are Rising shines in so many different ways. I love the orchestral arrangements Son Lux (aka Ryan Lott) has put together. It’s obvious from the beginning that he’s a classically trained musician fully capable of composing very complex pieces, and he doesn’t shy away from his abilities. “Let Go” – a short track near the end of the relatively quick 38-minute run time – is one of my favorites not because of any pop sensibilities Lott shows off, but because of the fact that multiple tempos overlap through different instruments and phase in and out of each other until the end when tracks are stripped away until a simple beat is left.

Other standouts include the bombastic “All The Right Things” and the Portishead-reminiscent “Leave The Bones.” But We Are Rising really should be listened to in its entirety. I’ve gone through it many times since its release last month and don’t plan on letting it slip out of rotation any time soon. Lott’s deep constructions will give me new facets to discover for quite some time.

The B-52s – Dance This Mess Around

The cover of the self-titled debut album by The B-52s

This song comes from one of my ten “desert island” albums: the self-titled debut album from The B-52s. The album was one of my family’s road-trip tapes when I was younger, and I adore it for many reasons, most of which are alive in this song. It’s kitsch, it’s camp, it’s weird, it’s emotional, but most of all, it’s incredibly pop.

I mean, who else could pull off screaming, “WHY DON’T YOU DANCE WITH ME?! I’M NOT NO LIMBURGER!”

The B-52s – Dance This Mess Around

Justin Bieber – U Smile (8x slower)

Justin Bieber, experimenal ambient prodigy? :)

The first time I heard of Justin Bieber was last summer in the morning before I went to work. I was living in New York, and because it took me almost an hour to get to work in New Jersey everyday, I woke up fairly early and watched some VH1 music video show. There was this little kid on TV with Usher standing next to him. I was confused to say the least, but I just left it at that.

Skip over the Bieber fever that has been 2010 thus far, and we arrive at this: a version of Bieber’s song “U Smile” digitally slowed down 800%.

J. BIEBZ – U SMILE 800% SLOWER by Shamantis

As you could probably guess, you can’t make out a single lyric of the song. But what’s astounding is how well this song would fit alongside songs by artists like Stars of the Lid, Fennesz, or Gas. The track is thirty-five minutes long and plays like an incredibly crafted ambient or experimental micro-sounds record.

I have been listening to more pop music lately, and after hearing the original version of this song, I’ve gotta admit that there’s something to it. After all of my trying to ignore this kid, I guess it’s finally time to go grab the Bieber album…

(via NPR’s All Songs Considered Blog)