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Nomad

Lotus

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Album Review

Opening with a peppy two-step acid riff, this debut studio album by the Philadelphian five-piece combo Lotus soon reveals the band to be not so much a dance act, but rather an electronically inclined jazz-funk outfit, led by the minimal guitar pluck of Mike Rempel. But that doesn't mean the electronic influence becomes moot. Quite the contrary; Rempel's quick-picked soft blues six-string style often merges with the arpeggiated keyboards of Luke Miller, making it difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. Similarly, Steve Clemens' drum playing scoots right along with Chuck Morris' electronic percussion which skips at a tempo faster than your average downtempo offering. Pushing up towards the house music zone, "Livingston Storm" and "Travel" ride a steady thump while "Plan Your Root" offers an easy listening version of the drum'n'bass break. This interesting fusion of light jazz motifs with dance/club rhythms and effects makes for strange bedfellows. In fact, over the course of any given song, the group can't seem to decide on which side of the fence they wish to sit. The result is not an uncomfortable coupling, but rather a wishy-washy affair that never settles into its own sense of self. While many classic- and jazz-trained artists have made the transition to club music with success, John Arnold and Jeremy Ellis (both originally of jazz-funk band Jazzhead) come to mind, this group of skilled players are considerably less adept at knowing when to put aside their light rock tendencies and just get on with the groove.

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Goshen, IN

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Combining elements of jam bands and electronic dance rock, Lotus was formed by brothers Jesse Miller (bass/sampler) and Luke Miller (guitar/keyboards), Steve Clemens (drums), Chuck Morris (percussion), and Mike Rempel (guitar) while they were attending Goshen College in Indiana in 1999. They recorded their debut album, Vibes, in concert in the fall of 2001 and self-released it in 2002. A second live album, Germination, was released on Harmonized Records on May 13, 2003. Nomad, the group's first studio...
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Nomad, Lotus
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