Since forming Son Lux as a solo project back in 2008, Ryan Lott has persistently sought a way to merge his disparate interests within an art-rock context. His efforts got a huge boost when the group expanded to include Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang in 2014. Since then the trio has unleashed a series of ambitious recordings that purloin ideas and concepts from jazz and classical traditions while constructing a sonically massive strain of art-rock.
As the Chicago Reader wrote in 2018, “when the songs work Son Lux remind me of artists as disparate as Xiu Xiu, Dirty Projectors, and James Blake—they conflate R&B and art-pop with psychodrama and visceral experimentation. Lott’s vocal tics—falsetto swoops, over-the-top vibrato, quasi-operatic flourishes—are clearly designed to evoke maximal emotional response, but they often use transparently artificial means to get there. He’s the eccentric pop auteur whose compositions form the heart of the trio.”
During the pandemic the trio upped their game with a trilogy of albums called Tomorrows where the countless elements of the Son Lux sound steadily pull apart and recombine, held together by Lott’s quavering vocals. Walls of lush strings dissolve suddenly into a crushing wave of distorted guitar, ambient drift erupts in rafter-raising beats, and music box melodies explode into soaring anthems. The collection represented a new high-water mark for the group. More recently the trio created the score for the hit film Everything Everywhere All at Once, a sustained work where Son Lux’s cinematic grandeur has never made more sense, supporting or instilling a veritable encyclopedia of moods and atmospheres.