GIVAN LOTZ "Snarling"

Let me begin this review by congratulating Givan Lotz for his design work on the cassette paper sleeve. The cover is gorgeous; it is a fluorescent colored digital homage to silkscreen and lithography, with paper thin subtle hatching gradients in cool hued prints. Floral textiles are reminiscent to Rococo era lithographs, but the repeating patterns feel Warholian because each subjects color is monotone.

The color choices look LSD inspired like Haight Ashbury 60ties hippie posters, but the subjects are fetishistic, like a Henri Fantin-Latour painting. This is fitting for the audio's gentle mood with slight hints to something more acid drenched.

Givan Lotz doesn't have the positive peace sign energy of the summer of love however that his design aesthetic might suggest. The songs on this release were made over the period of four years according to a press release statement. So the songs are not naive. They are considered, humble and a bit burnt out. Lotz's voice is haunting and murmured. At times it can be dragging, but subtle and surprising instrumentation shifts keep the release engaging.

The genre to this music is a cousin to campfire folk, but it's deeper and darker than that; it's cavernous and reverberated. I hear a little Black Heart Procession, but Lotz hails from Johannesburg, South Africa, so the time signatures mimic the rhythms of another culture, even though the common theme of the cassette is melancholia.

Lotz tackles the subjects of loneliness and tragedy without getting over sensitive or dramatic by giving the music the cool of a dusk evening in the desert. The sounds are searching artistically for tonal expansion while the lyrics get down right personal.

It's a strong release that comes recommended. Check it out.
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--Jack Turnbull