Long-running instrumental-electronic quintet Lotus has announced the details for their new studio album Free Swim and released their new single "Catacombs." Set for independent release Friday, August 21st, Free Swim mines dance grooves from soulful funk to dirty disco to build instrumental songs with a signature Lotus sound. Named for the Catacombs of Paris, which are explored by people looking for adventure and thrills underground, "Catacombs" opens Free Swim and invites listeners to descend into the depths of groovy-funky jazz. PRESS HERE to download/stream "Catacombs" and check out the first listen with BrooklynVegan, who hails the song "infectious." Free Swim will be available digitally and on vinyl and is now available for pre-order at www.lotusvibes.com; each pre-order will include an instant download of "Catacombs."
"Two groups that steered me into electronic dance music in college were Daft Punk and St. Germain," shares Luke Miller (keyboards, guitar). "Daft Punk utilized a sample-centric, loop style while St. Germain combined four-on-the-floor beats with jazz harmony and solos. Both were from France surrounding them an air of mystery and sophistication. They were both placed under the umbrella genre of 'French Touch,' which worshipped at the feet of disco-edit and heavy filters. For 'Catacombs,' I wanted to combine these two vibes. The bass holds down a funky groove that dances around the root, always falling forward harmonically. The drums and percussion lock into a tight engine. The keys glue it together with analog synth chords and disco string stabs. The guitar adds a jazzy melody and Nile Rodgers-esque funky chords. The cream in the espresso is the flute by guest Sam Greenfield. Halfway into the song he lets loose on a flurry of licks to heat the groove to a boil."
Written and produced by the group's Jesse and Luke Miller and recorded earlier this year at Spice House Sound in Philadelphia, Free Swim marks the follow-up to Lotus's 2018 audio and video album experience Frames Per Second and the band's 10th full-length studio album overall, not including their multiple live, EP and remix collections. The 10-track album pays homage to the greats of music's past, built on the bones of what the five members of Lotus listen to and have absorbed over time. Free Swim is an eclectic and groovy instrumental mix of funk, disco, jazz and psychedelia, looking to bring happiness and joy to listeners. From the jazzy-house of "Catacombs" to the vintage funk of "Sepia Rainbow" and "Earl of Grey" and the head-bopping cosmic disco tune "Bjorn Gets A Haircut," Free Swim will make you want to move. The chorus on title track "Free Swim," whose groove is built on a galloping piano riff and a syncopated guitar melody, is full of summer brightness with the guitar and synth repeating against a bass line that bounces like bare feet on a hot pavement. Track listing for Free Swim below.
"Luke named the track 'Free Swim' and I thought it also made a great album name," explains Jesse Miller (bass, modular synth). "Free swim can be read a couple of different ways, but I think both can apply to Lotus's music. The first brings me back to childhood when my mom would drive myself and four brothers to the public pool. The free swim time was pure, unrestrained joy as we soared off the diving boards and burned off excess energy swimming for hours in the summers. The second reading is becoming free while swimming. I picture the feeling of weightlessness in open water in some beautiful, remote location. When we write for Lotus, we try to use the energy of a live show to guide our arrangements. I always hope it can take people to a place that feels joyous, energized and free."
Lotus has always been difficult to define musically; an instrumental jamband that has favored groove-based improvisation instead of gaudy solos and noodling. Influences of classic electronic dance music, funk, post-rock and dance-rock have all made their way into the Lotus sound. Over the years, their unique musical blend helped forge a new path in the jamband landscape, influencing many younger bands in the scene. Albums such as their debut studio release, Nomad (2006) have become a touchstone for how to organically fuse elements of electronica with jam music, and the band continues to evolve through each tour and album bringing in new sounds and writing styles. Since their formation two decades ago, Lotus - Mike Greenfield (drums), Jesse Miller (bass, modular synth), Luke Miller (keyboards, guitar), Mike Rempel (guitar) and Chuck Morris (percussion) - has toured actively throughout the US working their way up from dingy basement clubs to world-class venues such as Red Rocks. They've become festival favorites, playing everything from Bonnaroo, Camp Bisco and Outside Lands to Ultra Music Festival and Electric Forest, building a hyper-loyal following along the way. Lotus also hosts their annual SummerDance Festival in Garrettsville, Ohio. A Lotus live show is an experience, a uniquely crafted and improvised set taking everyone, the crowd and band, on a journey.
That unique journey continues with Free Swim, which is packed with catchy melodies and killer grooves with a rich analog sound from top to bottom. The end result is a wide variety of styles that twist and turn, but all of them are a blast of sunshine glinting off the water. Jump in for Free Swim!
FREE SWIM TRACK LISTING
3. Free Swim
4. Sepia Rainbow
5. One-Eyed Jones
6. Bjorn Gets A Haircut
7. Straight Blade
8. Earl of Grey
9. Snake Island
10. Land of the Lush