Watching Son Lux is like being allowed some privileged, tantalising glimpse into the future. It is a future in which all music will be like this. Big, bold and grandiloquent, this prospective sound will plunder the neo-classical, dance, electro-pop and the baroque and come to us in some huge post-apocalyptic orchestral swell. We will struggle to give it a name, eventually settling upon a term in which the word avant will undoubtedly appear.
Son Lux is the musical project of New York’s Ryan Lott. The last time this classically trained composer, musician and producer was in Leeds – the first time, in fact, that he had visited the city – was in June of last year when he and his two musical collaborators, Rafiq Bhatia on guitar and drummer Ian Chang, played The Wardrobe. On that mesmerising summer evening the three men drew heavily from Lanterns, the third full-length recording to be released under the Son Lux name.
Back in Leeds – this time as part of Beacons Metro’s continuing season of music, arts and food events – Son Lux are performing at Headrow House. This former textile mill is the West Yorkshire city’s newest music venue. Emerging from the more recent and inglorious ashes of Big Lil’s Saloon Bar, Headrow House is everything that notorious drinking establishment was not; it is warm, welcoming and offers an intimate performance space in which to enjoy some of the best music that lies at the very heart of modern experimentalism.
Since their last visit to Leeds the trio of Lott, Bhatia and Chang have recorded and released Bones and it is to this album that Son Lux head this evening. Opening with ‘Change Is Everything’ the answer to the question of Son Lux lies in the song’s title. Their vision of popular music is undoubtedly protean as they go to the outer limits of both sound and production in search of something that is genuinely new.
The end results may well be occasionally overwrought as the scope of Son Lux’s ambition outstrips their innovative capacity. But when it all comes together, as it most surely does on the post-industrial pulse of ‘Now I Want’, the hypnotic tribal rhythm of ‘This Time’ as the song travels along an axis of genuine modernism; and the euphoric ‘You Don’t Know Me’ where elements of the choral, tropicalia and theatrical all gloriously merge, the end product is nothing less than exhilarating.
Photo credit: Simon Godley
More photos from this show can be found here
The Son Lux tour continues across Europe throughout October and November. Full details here
And all Beacons Metro information, including details of their forthcoming events, can be accessed here