Son Lux is the grand genre-less dream of LA composer Ryan Lott brought to roiling, vivid life with the help of guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang. Each is a writer, producer, and performer with omnivorous taste and a penchant for wild improvisation—a band whose mix of electronic pop, unusual soul, and outright experimentalism feels more inviting than ever on the project’s fifth album, Brighter Wounds, which leaves behind universal themes for personal fare. While making the album, Lott became a father and lost a best friend to cancer. Days of firsts were also days of lasts, and the normal fears that accompany parenthood were compounded by a frightening new reality—Lott’s son arrived shortly after Election Day. These songs draw on all of that: warm reflections of a fading past, pain wrenched from a still-present loss, and a mix of anxiety and hope for a future that is promised to no one.
Launched in 2008, Son Lux was initially a solo affair, the result of a classically trained mind straining against the constraints of the medium, turning piles of self-sourced note snippets into pulsing digital orchestras. Through 2013’s Lanterns, Lott maintained his auteur approach while broadening the Son Lux sound and guest list to unexpected results. The album drew the attention of several major pop acts, many of whom who incorporated moments from the album into their own works. Lorde even teamed up on a redux of “Easy” and covered the song on tour.
In recent years, the project’s list of collaborators has grown to include Woodkid, Moses Sumney, Antlers, My Brightest Diamond, Olga Bell, and yMusic (who also contribute to Brighter Wounds). Lott’s extracurriculars have included starting a rap-pop-folk band with Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti called Sisyphus, and scoring films like The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and Paper Towns. Bhatia and Chang, accomplished soloists and collaborators in their own right, were first brought on as touring musicians but soon found a home in Son Lux, cowriting 2015’s Bones with Lott while on the road. Brighter Wounds initially took shape remotely—the distance allowing Lott to sift through life-altering events—and was finalized together.
On Brighter Wounds, collaborators range from longtime cohorts Rob Moose (Y Music, Bon Iver, The National) and DM Stith (Sufjan Stevens), to new friends trumpeter Dave Douglas and reedist/instrument builder Arrington de Dionyso. Son Lux has made invention its hallmark through continued exploration and experimentation. With Brighter Wounds, the triad NPR proclaimed “the world’s most lethal band” now grips exhilaration and heartache in full embrace. In the words of the album’s closing refrain, “is this what the resurrection feels like?“
21 September 2018 – Six D.O.G.S., Athens, Greece
24 September 2018 – Salzhaus, Winterthur, Switzerland
25 September 2018 – Rockhal, Esch Sur Alzette, Luxembourg
26 September 2018 – TRIX Centrum voor Muziek, Borgerhout, Belgium
27 September 2018 – A2 – Centrum Koncertowe, Wrocław, Poland
28 September 2018 – Klub B90, Gdansk, Poland
29 September 2018 – Theatre House ‘juras Varti’, Ventspils, Latvia
30 September 2018 – Menu fabrikas LOFTAS, Vilnius, Lithuania
03 October 2018 – Bel etage, Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine
05 October 2018 – Control Club, Bucharest, Romania
06 October 2018 – FORM SPACE, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
07 October 2018 – Tvornica Kulture, Zagreb, Croatia
08 October 2018 – Akvárium Klub, Budapest, Hungary
09 October 2018 – Kino Šiška (Centre for Urban Culture), Ljubljana, Slovenia
10 October 2018 – Tabačka KulturFabrik, Kosice, Slovakia
11 October 2018 – Majestic Music Club, Bratislava, Slovakia
13 October 2018 – Funkhaus Berlin, Berlin, Germany