Some would argue that the Lotus Eaters are the sum of their three considerable parts – others, that it all comes down to chemistry. But to begin understanding where the Lotus Eaters are going, you must first understand where they come from:
Stephen O’Malley: Khanate, Sunn O))), Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, Burning Witch, Thorr’s Hammer, artist extraordinaire (Emperor, Sigh, Boris, Goatsnake, et. al.)
James Plotkin: Atomsmasher/Phantomsmasher, Khanate, OLD, Flux, Namanax, Solarus, Romance, and collaborations with Michael Gira, Mick Harris, Mark Spybey, Brent Gutzeit, and Fenech
Aaron Turner: Isis, Old Man Gloom, House of Low Culture, Hydra Head Records co-owner, artist extraordinaire (design/layout for Hydra Head, Tortuga, and countless other labels)
Whereas most “side-projects” are exercises in vanity and/or overshadowed by the egos involved, the Lotus Eaters are a rare exception. Case in point: the trio’s debut album for Neurot Recordings, Mind Control for Infants. After a very limited-edition double-12” EP, Alienist on a Pale Horse (Hydra Head/Ajna Offensive), Mind Control for Infants is the Lotus Eaters’ first fully realized full-length, an hour-long excursion into the conscious/subconscious/unconscious states of its principal creators…and, most of all, yours.
Created out of a need to expound on elements all three men have hinted at in their central musical vehicles, Lotus Eaters “results from the three of us putting our heads in the same metaphysical space and creating sounds,” states O’Malley. “If the listener is knowledgeable of our other individual efforts, they could probably dissect the LE sound into some pieces if they so desired, but it's not our intention. The LE sound develops as its own entity in form and consequence.”
Adds Turner, “We never really intended to do one thing or the other – we just started doing it and let it come together on its own. The whole process from the beginning has been very free, and the cohesion of sound and aesthetic vision has developed naturally.”
Contemplative as it is calming, Mind Control for Infants nonetheless demands mood-altering interaction and mind-controlling attention. Sparse and spaceless they may be, but much like contemporaries/labelmates Tribes of Neurot, the Lotus Eaters are far from “easy listening.” In the LE world, low-end gurgles co-exist with delicate(ly treated) strums of the guitar and sub-aquatic plunges of reverb, the result mountainous as it is minimal, without genre as it is without boundary.
“It doesn't matter where it stands,” remarks O’Malley about the album’s lack of classification, “as it is what it is and has been created as such. Just relax and enjoy it for that.”
Likewise, Mind Control for Infants plants no boundaries for the listener, for you are left to roam the desert plains of your mind, be it via dream-like states or wide-awake alertness. The album is all of this and more, and suitably one of juxtaposition. Mind Control for Infants is every bit ghostly as it is evasive of such a term’s clichés, and even pleasantly so in its ghostliness, entering a heretofore-desolate realm where two such adjectives can now reside side by side.
Turner perhaps tells it best: “I simply hope that these tracks do what all music should – take the listener out of their usual head space to some other emotional/conscious state. When I hear the tracks, I feel relaxed, I feel tense, I laugh, I zone out – I feel there are enough movements in the music to create a number of reactions.”
While it is doubtless that the Lotus Eaters will initially garner consideration based solely on their collective resumes, Mind Control for Infants stands mountainously on its own, on its own plane of existence, on its own plateau in the context of its creators’ respective oeuvres. Like its namesake, Mind Control for Infants is indeed music for the mind, and it will control you if you allow it to.