A fine blossom

Lotus NomadHarmonized Records

Four out of five stars

Fusion is the key ingredient in Nomad, the new release from Lotus. The album combines drum-n-bass with chill-out stylings reminiscent of DJ Shadow, made more interesting by the live band-savvy of the also Philadelphia-bred Roots.

Pulsing backbeats conjure images of a rave party’s light show while synthesized instrumentation, percussion and new-wave jazz guitar lead the band’s direction through a finely structured and innovative soundscape.

Put simply, Lotus is the modern jam band. Following in the steps of The Dead and String Cheese Incident, Lotus is known to switch from tightly composed pieces to extended improvisational sessions…and back again.

The five musicians that constitute Lotus have made a crucial contribution to the sometimes-faceless ambient music scene, while at the same time legitimizing modern, pop-appealing improvisational by taking it in a beautifully new direction.

Some jam bands are lost in the clouds, and some DJs are lost in their crates of samples, but on Nomad, Lotus successfully avoids both pitfalls and manages to produce a richly layered instrumental groove album that listeners can happily leave on repeat.

Drew Tabke