Posted on June 1st, 2012 (1:09 pm) by Esmail Hamidi

Lorn, born Marcus Ortega in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, gets his name from the Olde English adjective meaning “lost” or “abandoned.” It definitely suits him, his sound, his aesthetic, and his craft. Since his debut record Nothing Else in 2010, on Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus’ label, he has toured with Amon Tobin among others. His sophomore album, Ask the Dust, is out on Ninja Tune this upcoming June 18th.

All in all, the style Lorn showcases on Ask the Dust is described by himself as “haunted, oily, [and] smeared.” The descriptive usage of these characteristics hits the veritable nail on the head; all of his tunes are grimy, heavy, melodic, and dynamic. If most modern American electronic dance music can be likened to a hulking, mechanical, steaming industrial dishwasher, then this record is more like a hungover college student with Brillo pad and half-full soap bottle in hand. Sampled drums and sound effects, stretched beyond the point of recognition, are combined with gritty layered synthesizers to create a sound altogether minimal, organic, and gigantic.

“Mercy” kicks off the record with a slinking rhythmic groove reminding me slightly of “Welcome to the Jungle” off of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s 2011 smash hit Watch the Throne. The drums fall to the background as a churning, swirling bass synth squeezes out the main melody. In “Diamond,” metallic samples and slowed-down voice combine to form a decidedly sinister track. Lorn achieves a haunted-carnival-feel in “Dead Dogs” by using chopped drums and expressive filtered synths with timbres reminding me of a Rhodes piano. The third track (and probably my favorite of the bunch), "Weigh Me Down," employs massive vocal samples and trundling sampled drums to coax numerous emotions out of the hazy mix. The album is concluded by “Ghosst(s),” using some sort of grunting, warped string instrument and timestretched vocals to great effect. Across the board, every tune is overflowing with unrestrained grit. In addition, all songs are of widely varying lengths; demonstrating, if only a little bit, Lorn’s versatility and originality.

I've found that this music works well on mixtapes when buttressed with tunes by Ratatat and Clams Casino. Jump into the thick morass that is this album and try to swim.

Track Listing:
1. Mercy
2. Ghosst
3. Weigh Me Down
4. This
5. Diamond
6. Everything is Violence
7. The Well
8. The Gun
9. Dead Dogs
10. Chhurch
11. I Better
12. Ghosst(s)

Lorn- Ask the Dusk
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

77 / 100
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