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Son Lux - You Don't Know Me

Son Lux - You Don't Know Me

-You Don't Know Me-

You don't know me at all

When Nathan Johnson was interviewed about the music video he directed for You Don't Know Me featuring Tatiana Maslany he had this to say:

When Ryan first sent the album over to The Made Shop, this was the song that I kept coming back to. It touches a pretty raw nerve, and we wanted to explore the song in terms of the empty rituals we often see in relationships and, to a larger degree, religion. We wrote the video specifically for Tatiana and designed everything around her performance. She’s such a phenomenal actor, and she brings something so compelling to the role – this powerful figure who is stuck in the vacancy of routines that have lost their meaning.

Johnson neatly sums up the potent lyrical content, and I think the video beautifully illustrates it's meaning. Nathan Johnson is a pretty prolific character himself, starting with the band The Cinematic Underground, and going on to score his cousin Rian Johnson's films, Brick, The Brother's Bloom, and Looper. Alas this is not a Nathan Johnson song, so let's get back to the genius that is Son Lux and You Don't Know Me.

The intro of this song is immediately intriguing and it takes a moment to dissect why. First there is the synth lead which I would swear is a kontakt instrument made from a car alarm because every time I hear someone remote lock their vehicle I think it's going to be followed by 6 more beeps and a horn stab to continue the You Don't Know Me riff. Whatever it is it's a very unique sound and it works perfect for the melody of this track. Then there's the drums. The kick is ducking the mix and the snare is really gritty. It sounds like ambient noise in the snare recording is pumping as it gets ducked, which adds to the grime. I dig it. 

The verse starts with Ryan Lott's voice just above a whisper after a dramatic horn sample and tremolo string crescendo, which is a testament to the band's impactful use of dynamics. This song is all over the place in that respect which is a huge part of what makes it great. The second line in the verse comes in with the hum section and throughout the song those hums are a really distinct character. Son Lux is a master (or I guess now that they are a trio, are masters?) of unorthodox sounds and structure and that hum is just one tasty example of that. 

My favorite part of this track comes after the 2nd verse at 2:06 when the low guitar with the octave pedal enters, hanging just behind the beat. It's moody, and letting it drag behind the groove like that is subtle and simple musical genius to me. Another sweet element in that section is the handclaps from the verses that are left bare and in the open. The room reverb gives away that the claps were recorded with a few people in the same small reverberant space together, which is a charming, raw and natural detail for a song with so much processing going on. 

-Son Lux-

Ryan Lott has a special place in my heart for the eclectic music he makes and our shared state of origin and career paths. Ryan is also from Colorado, and also moved to NYC to work as a commercial music composer. In 2014 Ryan was featured in this AWESOME spot for Gillette created by the ad agency Grey whose music department is renowned for great collaborations like this:

Six years before that, Lott released the first Son Lux record entitled At War With Walls & Mazes. This album is spectacular. Check out the second track from it entitled Break:

If that stirs something in you, get the album and spend some time with it. It doesn't take much for At War With Walls & Mazes to feel like an old friend. 

In 2011 Son Lux released We Are Rising featuring the single All The Right Things which is also a jam. Furthermore, Darren King from MUTEMATH (featured in the previous post) did a pretty cool remixed of it. Here's the original track:

Son Lux released Lanterns in 2013 which continued along the evolutionary path that the first two records set up, mixing eclectic and intricate electronic elements with acoustic strings, woodwinds and brass both performed and sampled. The best example of that juxtaposition on the 3rd studio release is Lost It To Trying:

Last year (2015) brought us Bones with You Don't Know Me as the 4th track. This record is the first release where Ryan Lott went beyond collaborating with other artists and actually brought on Ian Chang and Rafiq Bhatia as fellow band members. Bones is the strongest Son Lux record to date in my opinion, and I'm certain that only good things can follow!

-If you dig this tune check out:

My Brightest Diamond, MUTEMATH, St. Vincent, Nathan Johnson, Baths, Gold Panda, James Blake, Mount Kimbie, Royal Canoe, and Absofacto

(all links go to youtube videos that stand as the best representation of the artist so you don't have to go hunting for music that doesn't suck)

Son Lux

Son Lux

My Brightest Diamond - Lover Killer

My Brightest Diamond - Lover Killer