Son Lux is 32-year-old producer-composer Ryan Lott, a man classically trained, but rewired by his own design. A frequent collaborator and consummate “man behind the curtain,” with Son Lux, the New York-based auteur takes center stage. Somewhere between the concert hall and the dingy hip-hop club, you’ll find his haunting liquid soundscapes, born of beatwise means, rich in their orchestral warmth, always hinting at some divine unreachable height.
Lott was born in Denver in 1979. At 2, he moved to California; at 5, to Connecticut. His father made industrial adhesives; his mother made the home; he had one brother and one sister. Piano lessons were a family rule and Lott began at 6, counting down the clicks of the egg-timer. He hated it, and by 12, knew he wouldn’t be a concert pianist. He’d be a composer instead, but offset this revelation by performing Nirvana covers on guitar in middle school dance bands. His parents brought him to Atlanta for high school, where he picked up the drums, a punk band or two, and a piano teacher who sneaked in a few lessons in jazz and pop.
In his third year studying composition at Indiana University, Lott began collaborating with the dance student who would become his wife, writing music to her choreography. After college in Cleveland, he conceived a multimedia art gala dubbed CONNECT whose second event featured 30 artists of various inclinations. (Lott collaborated with 20.) With his wife, he co-founded the charitable ASH Ensemble, and later composed a piece for saxophone and tape that debuted in Slovenia. Back home, Lott picked up his first East Coast gig -- inside of the Guggenheim, no less -- and a pair of prestigious Ohio arts grants. In 2007, he moved to New York, accepting a job as a fulltime composer for an editorial house. His 12-year-old self smiled. Lott should have rested.
But for three years, he compulsively collected thousands of sounds -- one and two-note fragments, samples and live snippets. He turned his trained ear to recognizing consistent hues between them, built a palette electronically, then began arranging not by melody, as a composer would, but by rhythm, as a beat-maker. He’d been making an album without realizing it -- a sort of pop divorced from verse-chorus form, memorable music without a hook. The lyrics too would be small bits, things read or overheard, and repeated like chants. Single notes became pulsing digitized orchestras. Simple words became transcendent. Son Lux was born.
In 2009, Lott released his critically lauded debut, At War with Walls and Mazes, and followed it with a series of performances that broke the album down into a mercurial mass to be reassembled at will -- sometimes by Lott alone (on computer and/or piano), sometimes with help. Similarly, Son Lux continued to evolve as Lott’s extracurriculars pushed him into new realms. He’s worked extensively with acclaimed choreographers, including Stephen Petronio, scoring his large-scale dance works for Ballet de Lorraine and National Dance Company Wales. He also orchestrated the brass and woodwinds for These New Puritans’ NME-touted Hidden LP, arranged the score to a to-be-released French film, and produced a beat (single “Blue Movie”) for left-field rapper Beans’ 2011 Anticon. debut.
His second album, We Are Rising, was made from start to finish in February of 2011.