Lotus Plaza is the solo project of Deerhunter’s Lockett Pundt and, just as Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox uses the Panda Bear pseudonym to present a singular vision, devoid of outside influence, Pundt plays all the instruments on the recordings, save the odd guest appearance from a friend. As documented on the debut Lotus Plaza album ‘The Floodlight Collective’, released on Kranky in 2009, Pundt uses this creative freedom to weave a distinctive mix of lush textures together, based around his trademark arpeggiated guitar loops, programmed drum beats and heavily reverbed, harmonised vocals.
The juxtaposition of fluid guitar and vocal lines on top of hypnotic, repeated rhythms gave ‘The Floodlight Collective’ a dream-like quality that drew the listener in to its thick, hazy atmosphere. The submerged vocals hinted at snatched half-memories, and were often delivered with a yearning melancholy that added to the introspective and enveloping feel of the record that led ‘Drowned In Sound’ to declare it ‘one of the best late-night albums of the year’.
Whilst Pundt has fronted Deerhunter songs in the past, notably on the compelling, tightly-wound ‘Agoraphobia’, he truly stepped out of the shadows on 2010’s stunning Deerhunter album ‘Halcyon Digest’, on which his surprisingly upfront vocals, devoid of masking effects and with only minimal reverb, took the lead on ‘Fountain Stairs’, as well as the stand-out centrepiece of the record, ‘Desire Lines.’ When writing about that song for the rundown of their favourite tracks of 2010, Pitchfork stated that ‘as a songwriter, Pundt has a gift for sneaking into epic territory through the back door– delivering a big, guitar-driven payoff without condescending to cheeseball bombast.’
In the two songs that appear on 12PALM03, a split 12” with Odonis Odonis, Pundt showcases this striking ability once again. The shimmering, cascading guitar line of ‘Remember Our Days’ gives the song a graceful, cinematic quality, juxtaposing with the simple humility of the lyrics as Pundt sings ‘ If I don’t see you again/ I’m glad that you were my friend’. The second track on the Lotus Plaza side, ‘Out of Touch’, revisits the obscured vocals of ‘The Floodlight Collective’, but also recalls the unabashed pop hookiness of ‘Desire Lines’ in its lilting, yearning chorus.
After touring around the world with Deerhunter in support of the highly acclaimed ‘Halcyon Digest’, Pundt is currently recording for the second Lotus Plaza album on Kranky, which the two tracks on his side are demos for.