Lotto is an instrumental trio based between Warsaw & Berlin. They formed in late 2012. VV is their 3rd album. They consist of a Polish duo, Łukasz Rychlicki on electric guitar, electric bass, springs, Paweł Szpura on drums and percussion and Berlin based Australian Mike Majkowski on double bass, Hammond organ and synth.
Majkowski in particular is probably best known in jazz circles, but don’t tell his solo albums which, are strange excursions into microtonal and extended bass. We last saw him in Australia alongside Tony Buck as part of the rhythm section of legendary Ethiopian composer Hailu Mergia. (You can read our review here)
At times it’s hard to know if this is sound art or jazz. It works in drones and strange amorphous sound sculptures, possibly underwater. Yet it coalesces, a pulse evolves into a beat, a beat into drums and before you know it a rhythm sections and a repetitive at times almost militaristic stomp. Yet the cohesion can’t last and washed out drones overtake the piece, before again, a gentle bass motif evolves, sounding more like a clipped and looped segment of a Fugazi set, albeit with more strange atmospheric tones triggering and oscillating throughout.
This is long form music, there are two side long tracks on this album, each clocking in at 20 plus minutes and it all feels live and improvised, but when they get on a groove they stick with it. And whilst reverb and delay are utilised, it feels performative, like they’re pedals and not after effects.
In a way the trio operate like they’re creating live techno. Repetitive, faux looped rhythmic gestures with all manner of weirdness colliding and exploding over the top. Yet of course it’s not that simple. It’s controlled, but it defies easy categorisation, equal parts strange sound design, electronic, minimal, jazz, it moves and evolves yet it has a peculiar relationship with stasis and repetition. It ends positively spooky, with late night growling and a real dark edgy noir feel.
This is post everything music. It’s refreshing not to know what’s going on, or what’s going to happen next. It’s new, evocative, fascinating, and just a little bit menacing. Perhaps it’s the future of jazz.