The Lothars

From the Jan., 2001 issue of Fake Jazz.

11 out of 12 s/t cover

Windy & Carl & the Lothars - s/t
(Blue Flea)

As anyone who knows me most certainly knows by now, I love Windy & Carl a lot! Due to the fact that this is so, I hunted down this newest cd offering while I was in California over Christmas. I am really scared of flying and I hoped that the otherworldly drones and sonic pillows that Windy & Carl usually provide would help me off to sleepy land on the flight back to Connecticut.

On this shiny metal musical plate, Windy & Carl team up with a group of theremin players and a guitarist from Massachusetts that call themselves the Lothars. This tag-team (featuring Carl Hultgren along with the Lothars) formed up for a special third stage presentation at Terrastock 3 in London. The result is, of course, wonderful! Carl Hultgren sets the stage by laying down some fat, fat drones that sparkle and shimmer. The Lothars improvise with their electronics over the drones to create eerie mechanic-howls. At points the theremins sound actually human. The interaction between all of the musicians is very impressive. They bounce ideas and sounds back and forth very easily and without stepping on each other's feet.

The second and third track on the compact disc features two songs by Windy & Carl as performed at Terrastock 2 in San Francisco in 1998. "Through the Portal" and "Ballast" are faithful, sparse renditions of these Windy & Carl classics. The recording quality is excellent for a live performance, and the performance itself is flawless and beautiful. One of the reasons that Windy & Carl deserve my unending awe is due to their ability to both replicate their albums and improvise freely in a live context. I have been lucky enough to witness both and I can honestly say that they do both things very very well. This recording features only their ability to replicate the feel and textures of their albums, but it comes off as an improvisation due to its sense of spontaneity. This is especially true as they easily segue between songs to make one huge mega-trip!

The fourth track on this ultra reflective laser catcher features the Lothars in tandem with Alastair Galbraith. This performance is also taken from Terrastock 2. I must say that this track interested me least because it wasn't the reason for me purchasing the music. That said, I really enjoyed the track. It does not take away from the flow of the album by any measure, and it really shows the collaborative powers of everyone involved. However, I have to be honest, by the time this track rolls around, I am pretty far gone.

I heartily recommend this cd to anyone who enjoys some good strong drones.

aaron snow
2001 jan 12