It doesn’t quite feel like mere chance that he should work udiet Janus club, in Berlin. Bearing the name of the two-faced roman god: the one of duality, portals, endings and beginnings. J’Kerian Morgan – a.k.a. Lotic – has a style of musical production that easily sits in the middle of before and after, be it that you get caught by them at his city’s haven or on his Soundcloud. A natural from Houston of African descent and a dissident gender, he’s struck the European electronic music scene with a voice without pair or precedent.
Alluding to things that inhabit below flowing waters, his artistic name is actually an adjective. So it should be good to start by imagining phytoplankton, fish and bears hunting salmon clocking them with a claw to the mug. His music is just like that, flowing and giving, like a river: His currents can be tranquil or run out of their channel and flood New Orleans. He can also be a bit like those natured-themed TV shows, with a cute fuzzy creature eating the other’s face.
Lotic is wild. The first thing that catches our eye about him is his sound palette (a rather illogical phrase, bear with me). Liquefied, pasteurized sounds mixed with bicycle chain soup have been with us since someplace in the ‘70s, when synthesizers became self-aware and started their world domination plans. But that’s easy to forget. This is how Lotic appears, as a sonic bucket of cold water to the face that instills a longing for the warmth of crowded clubs in you.
The first time I listened to his Damsel In Distress EP, I didn’t quite know what to think (besides electrical spider-fishmen from outer space – a rather Lovecraftian affair).
Then, after a mysterious high pitched riff, like a horror film’s glockenspiel or maybe a zither, came Beyonce’s voice, across a thin wall of reverb: welcome to Lotic’s little danceable nightmare… just wait a little while longer and husky, pitch bent male vocals will turn the whole picture to a romantic, futuristic and nostalgic scheme (finding adjectives for this one’s work is, verily, a thing).
It’s hard to believe that he does everything in the box, but the rather cultured tone of his alias isn’t gratuitous: he studied electronic music composition at UT – Austin. That’s why he manages to set his otherworldly sounds on… the right spot? Lotic admits that he likes to play with his audience’s feelings, and most of his tracks carry an atmosphere prone to tension, strangeness and the inhospitable. Whatever small brushings of sweetness and calm we can find in his Soundcloud come from remixes of other kinder – and whole notch less intense – artists.
There’s an unusual coherence to Lotic’s work, and this comes from the impossibility of separating his artistic and public personae: his approximation to sound is rooted on a search for the unique – he’s stated that he “would never use an 808 kick” – and this is bound to his live sets and the way he presents himself to us: as a young man of his skin color, with his fabulous gestures and poses, who isn’t intimidated to bash forth into a scene where heteronormativity is still receding from being a must, but hasn’t quite abandoned the mainstream – should there be any doubts of this, consider that it’s only been a couple of years since Busse and Davasse released Hypermasculinity on the dancefloor. In acting the way he does and pushing forth, Morgan takes the role of an ambassador, not only in retain for the club music sub-species which inhabits the viscerae of the night, but for sexual and personal identities often left to the back cover.