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Son Lux is the grand genre-less dream of Los Angeles composer Ryan Lott brought to roiling, vivid life with the help of two New Yorkers, guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang. Each is a writer, producer, and performer with omnivorous taste and a penchant for wild improvisation—a band whose mix of electronic pop, unusual soul, and outright experimentalism feels more inviting than ever on the project's fifth album, Brighter Wounds. The songs therein leave behind Son Lux's typically universal themes for deeply personal fare. While making Brighter Wounds, Lott became a father to a baby boy and lost a best friend to cancer.
Launched in 2008 with At War with Walls & Mazes, Son Lux was initially a solo affair, the result of a classically trained mind straining against the constraints of the medium, turning piles of self-sourced note snippets into pulsing digital orchestras. The project's list of collaborators now includes Lorde, Woodkid, Moses Sumney, members of the Antlers, My Brightest Diamond, Olga Bell and yMusic. Lott's extracurriculars have included starting a rap-pop-folk band with Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti called Sisyphus, and scoring films like The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby and Paper Towns. Bhatia and Chang, accomplished soloists and collaborators in their own right, were first brought on as touring musicians but soon found a home in Son Lux, cowriting 2015's Bones with Lott while on the road. Brighter Wounds initially took shape remotely—the distance allowing Lott to sift through life-altering events—and was finalized together.