Aaron Frank might pop up in your cereal.
Since attending last year’s Nosaj Thing-headlined Brainfeeder Sessions, I’ve noticed Lorn’s “Tomorrow” popping up in DJ sets from Gaslamp Killer to Mary Anne Hobbs. Boasting an unmistakably dark tone, it veers on industrial, making it stand out from the often Dilla-descended beats that pound at the Low End Theory. Simultaneously, the Milwaukee-bred producer’s been pushing a mysterious aesthetic with his press photos and album artwork, causing me to expect his debut to be the groundbreaking amalgam of Take, Burial and Nine Inch Nails — even though I’ve never even been a big Nine Inch Nails fan.
But Nothing Else isn’t entirely doom and gloom– really, Lorn’s just a fan of really loud bass. Of course, loud isn’t always better (see Crystal Castles), and it’s getting to the point where the producers who can do the most interesting things with it usually end up making the best music. If you’ve heard “Tomorrow” on a decent set of speakers, you’ll know the bass pretty much makes your brain rattle against your skull, leaving you feeling like you’ve been transported to a nuclear holocaust. Lorn fares best when gambling stylistically — as he does on the title track — the only one with vocals. There’s also a pretty sinister bassline on the dubstep-influenced “Void” parts 1 & 2, which is definitely worth a listen.
But it would’ve been cool to have see Lorn fill the neverending void of emotion that exists in electronic music. Tracks like “None An Island” and “Glass and Silver” merely slink along and wear out their welcome before even getting the chance to build to a climax. While “Army of Fear” comes off sounding like the soundtrack to an awkward teen’s lonely Saturday night in front of the Xbox. While definitely a notable debut, Lorn’s still honing his aesthetic, one partially still in debt to Ratatat, Flying Lotus, and the rest of the video game generation. Though Nothing Else might be as singular as its aspirations, it’s enough to leave you wanting something more.