Usually it’s a foolhardy exercise to tie the sound of an artist too heavily to his/her favorite records. But in the case of Jolan Koks, the producer who works under the name Loden, it’s instructive to hear that in constant rotation on his stereo are: Midnight Marauders, Enter The 36 Chambers, Boards of Canada, The Smiths, and Nick Drake.
That said, now isn’t the time to play a game of “spot the reference” as you listen to Loden’s latest album The Star Eyed Condition. Rather, we mention those artists as a way to acclimate you to the vast and dense production on his fourth full-length.
Koks is an artist daring enough to invite Sierra Cassidy of CocoRosie to sing on a track on Busdriver’s last album Beau$Eros, giddy enough to combine the forces of the operatic-esque JoeÌˆlle LeÌ‚ with the soulful croon of Ceschi Ramos, and crafty enough to use the sound of water spraying into a sink to anchor one of his beats.
The Star Eyed Condition is chameleonic effort in the impossible to pin down trajectory of Loden’s career. The Belgian-based producer and musician has already proven his facility for glassy disco and droning ambient on his 2005 debut Valeen Hope, and glitchy hip-hop via his work with Sole and Thirsty Fish.
On his new album, Koks goes even further beyond his already drawn boundaries. There’s a touch of robo-electro to tracks like “Optimist Never Cries” and “Sanesserarian” (a play on the phrase “cÌ§a ne sert a rien” or “it is useless”). He brings the ghostly sounds of German electronic pop into the dirtiest of hip-hop beats. And on his collaboration with rhymer Doseone, “Future Confetti,” he gets lost in a psychedelic wilderness worthy of DJ Danger Mouse.
To bring this new collection to bear, Koks tapped a number of his friends on their shoulders, asking them to provide rhymes and melodies to these tracks. Busdriver jumps in the aforementioned sink spray track “About Busdriver With Colors,” slinking through the acid techno swirl. And collaborator Sole makes an appearance on the album closer “A Letter to a Future Kid,” laying his reflectively calm rhymes atop a slowly unfolding dreamlike beat.
Thinking of his favorite records and the music that inspired him to start making sounds of his own, Koks says, “I love being completely blown away by a record and just wanting to live inside of it.”
Loden is not alone in that idea, but what may surprise him to know is that there are going to be plenty of listeners out there lining up to take up residence inside of The Star Eyed Condition.