Black Lotus


Tectonic present the game-changing second album by 26-year-old Mancunian Sam Walton, better known as simply Walton. Black Lotus follows his inclusion on Tectonic's landmark 100th release, Riko Dan's Hard Food EP (TEC 100EP, 2018). Abstract electronics, grime, dubstep, and new styles that don't even have a name yet coalesce perfectly on this classic in the making. It finds Walton at peak power, reaching just as far (if not more so) than anything on the Pan, Different Circles, Boxed, or Tectonic catalogs for pure futurism and new-terrain-traversing brilliance. Spacious and modern sounding, with just the right amount of grit, on Black Lotus Walton has taken things the next level -- setting an impressive new high bar. This is the best music to take inspiration from far eastern culture since Photek's seminal Ni - Ten - Ichi - Ryu (1995) and The Water Margin (1995). Cinematic may be a term bandied about too often, but on this record it unquestionably applies, with the whole thing playing out like an epic movie, full of highs, lows, action, reflection and changing scenes. The album kicks off with "Black Lotus", which makes it quickly evident that this isn't just another generic long-player; a weightless/sino style intro segues into a mystical kalimba line, which is then is enveloped by huge waves of synthesized, pitched-down brass. "Point Blank" offers locked, harsh mechanical funk, full of aggravated excitement, before sleek, spacious grime and disguised pop garage achieve twisted anthem status, on the hugely satisfying "Koto Riddim". The Yakuza crime riff of "No Mercy" is perfect for Riko Dan's threatening menace, especially at the point his voice gets distorted into a gutural and unsettling, demon-like wretch. "Mad Zapper" is abstract, comprised of simple yet challenging beats, tones, and stutters, whilst the taiko/kumi-daiko style percussion of "Angry Drummer" has a rousing, heavy thump. "Pan" sounds equally enthralling whether sound-tracking a dark movie scene of impending danger, or carrying enraptured ravers on a dancefloor journey, especially one suited to the synapse-prodding drama of a high production, laser-heavy festival set. Choppy drums and bouncy bass tones are laced with the gorgeous melody of "Ehru", and "Vectors" is sleek 'n' deep breakbeat-garage-meets-IDM, featuring Wen. Although already known for elements of musicality, Walton raises his game even higher with the beautiful closing track "White Lotus", which has a wow factor akin to hearing Aphex Twin's "Jynweythek Ylow" (2002) for the first time.