Lorn LornNothing Else
If I’m not mistaken, this new beatmaker extraordinaire is the first producer to slip into Brainfeeder who didn’t come up from the streets of Los Angeles. He has seduced Flying Lotus with his reptilian swagger, as if he were a rattlesnake challenging its prey, a terribly attractive rattlesnake ready to grab the listener by the jugular. Lorn has poison in his fangs, and the rattle on his tail is both terrifying and fascinating. He twists his vertebrae as if they were cigarette paper, curling up in our iPod until he suffocates the machine, lying in wait with a feline gaze every time we try to change songs. It’s much better to let “Nothing Else” play all the way through, giving yourself over to it without moving a finger, not to touch anything. We might get a poisonous caress from the beast.
There’s more to him than meets the eye—a guy who’s not even 25 years old, from Milwaukee, living in one of the most depressed corners of the United States (Illinois, they say), has ended up on one of the most futuristic, sunny, advanced platforms of new instrumental hip hop. But it has already been shown that the more desolate the spot, and more solitary the person, the more passionate his music is. Skilled from the beginning as a consummate scratcher and architect of albums of breaks for acrobats of the needle, Marcos Ortega has managed to progress by adapting his vibrations to the size of the new heroes of the beat. He has taken advantage of the teachings of experimentation with scratching to breathe new life into his latest creations, genuinely unusual gems in the geology of the latest electronic music. It is no coincidence that Flylo bent over backwards to include him in the Olympus of Brainfeeder. He’s different. He sounds different. He has a different flavour.
Lorn –not to be confused with Lone– is surfing in turbulent waters. This psychokiller from Wisconsin has dedicated three years and many pieces of his soul to building this enchanted castle, a threatening architectural mass with a Gothic silhouette and terrifying pinnacles that smell rancid and damp. In its mouldy halls, dubstep, hip hop, horrorcore, drum’n’bass and IDM melt into a mound of throbbing muck that advances slowly and viscously, leaving everything in its path in a marked state of uneasiness and bad vibes. In “Nothing Else” there’s no time for pop, no time for nonsense, not even a little crack to let some light in: every song exudes a crackling darkness that you want to stick to once you hear the first beats of “Grandfather” –as if Vangelis and Skream were Siamese twins joined at the head– and right away you enter into the thick fog of Victorian dubstep of the overwhelming “None An Island”.
With the first five minutes of the album, you have enough to know that you are looking at an exercise that will leave its mark. Lorn has no pity, nor does he need it. The military drumbeat and synthesisers from 50’s Martian movies that mark the beat of the incredible “Greatest Silence” are like a press pass to visit the world beyond the grave. It is close to the darkest underground of Croydon, but it isn’t at any time similar to references that allow comparisons. He is a Phantom of the Opera without a membership card, who can distort old-school dubstep until not even light escapes from its gravitational field – “Bretagne”– or turn the same formula around adding some keyboards and samples that are too sick for weak hearts—the double “Void I” and “Void II” is impressive. And it plays by itself. You are listening to something that escapes all categorisations. Especially in pieces like “Glass and Silver” or “Automaton”, passages in which this very particular voice finds itself more at home, in which dub, IDM, and wonky seem to turn in on themselves, executing aberrant contortions. Here, the cosmic synthesisers of a giallo film, and nebulous electronics are his main weapons, and he uses them viciously, with a taste for blood. Then, when we think that the uproar can’t go any further, he vomits out “Cherry Moon”, possibly the best cut on the album, and gives us a lesson in emotion, sadness, horror, and artificial intelligence that takes your breath away. The dude is scary. There is no sicker behaviour than watching the world from the first row, with a glass of cognac in your hand. One of the best lobotomies of the 21st century. Óscar Broc