Friends Jay Bodley (Sun Hammer) and Carl Ritger (Radere) began working together on collaborative material in 2010 after being introduced by a mutual friend. Upon realizing their mutual love for hip hop, heavy drones and craft beer, the pair set out to see what would come of a late spring weekend spent recording together. After promising results from the first sessions in Philadelphia, which focused heavily on the use of guitars, laptops and a wide array of field recordings, the two decided to pursue the development of their initial recordings. Over the course of the next year or so, the two edited, processed, evolved and refined these raw sketches, bouncing the tracks back and forth between them until realizing the pieces that form Lotophagen.
Combining both artists’ unique approach to sound art, the album's five epic tracks present hyper-real landscapes comprised of heavily sculptured drones, edged with industrial repetition and illuminated by light sources from within the cavernous depths. Jay and Carl also captured numerous located recordings that found their way into the mix; from a political protest at an Obama campaign event to environmental sounds captured in rural Virginia to the tactile clatter of an unspooling 8mm video camera that closes the album.
For both artists, this was a time of significant upheaval and change. During the production period of Lotophagen, Jay left New York and moved to Blacksburg, Virginia before ultimately returning to his hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Meanwhile, Carl dealt with the fallout of a long-term relationship and the lingering effects of the Great Recession on his personal life and career. These poignant experiences are diarized in a sense by Lotophagen, which also serves as a window into the dialog these two artists shared while getting to know one another as both friends and colleagues.
The etymology of the word “lotophagen” can be traced to the Greek mythology of Homer's Odyssey; the mythical lotus eaters (or “lotophagen”); a race of people who slept and dreamt under the narcotic influence of the intoxicating lotus fruit, the main food of the island. Inducing a fever dream state of lucid visions, dark visceral incarnations of fears, anxieties and temptations amongst a heightened senses, Lotophagen is a heady journey into subconscious made real, a kind of magic realism.
Available on limited CDr and digital formats, Lotophagen is accompanied by a digital booklet entitled Journey into Lotophagen, including artist narratives on the album and additional artwork.
released August 25, 2012
All music by Jay Bodley and Carl Ritger
Mastered by Joe Panzner