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Lotus at the Majestic, 3 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Thursday, December 27, 2018

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Lotus delivered a surprise to its fans earlier this month.

On Dec. 5 the Philadelphia jam band snuck out "Frames Per Second," an all-instrumental studio album it not only recorded but also created in the studio, with documentary film cameras capturing the proceedings. It's a lot of music that, as usual, traverses a number of different styles and demonstrates in a studio setting the same kind of improvisational and experimental acumen the group is known for on stage.

And it was also, according to bassist Jesse Miller, quite a bit of fun...

Miller, 39, says by phone that recording "Frames Per Second" felt more like performing a live show than any of Lotus' previous studio albums. "Being known so much as a live band, I think we've taken most of our studio albums as an opportunity to push and do things that are harder for us to do live. But for this we really wanted to show more of the live aspect of it and cut it live and film it and just kind of bring that organic Lotus sound out."

The songs for "Frames Per Second" came from ideas written during the two years since Lotus' previous albums. And while it was a "live" recording in the studio, Miller says the band still applied some restraint in its approach. "We definitely came up doing a lot of improvisation, and I love doing that but I also really love composing. I think there's a lot of power in that. I almost had to convince some other members of the band we could play a four-minute song that didn't have a seven-minute jam in the middle and that could be part of our sound, too. I think we have a much better balance now than in early years, when we'd do a 20-minute performance based on one riff."

This year marked the 20th anniversary of Lotus' first performance, but Miller says the group opted not to celebrate it in any specific way. "I think one thing that makes it a little hard to point to what the actual date is there was an initial Lotus thing in the fall of 1998, but then it really got going in 1999, so I dunno. It's funny 'cause when you say 20 years it does seem like a long time, but it also seems like, to me, we're just getting there. It's always this work in progress. If you're not changing, can you really call yourself an artist?"

Lotus and El Ten Seven, Friday, Dec. 28 at the Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Doors at 8 p.m. $25 advance, $27 day of show. 313-833-9700 or majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

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