Lotto - "The Sound of Lotto!" (Holder of The Sacrament Records 1998, demo/cassette)
From Aural Innovations #5 (January 1999)
Sometimes you wonder what goes on inside some people's heads. In the case of Norway's very own one and only Lotto, the answer could be too dangerous to reveal in greater detail in a magazine. Rearing its twisted face from of the arctic depths of Oydegard, Norway, there is no doubt this band should be heading for success of some measure, beyond the dark womb of its spawning.
This first 60 minute compilation tape spanning the last decade or so covers a variety of sounds I might describe as lo-fi DIY progrock, and dark, noisy and repetitive improvisations with unsettling vocalizations. Think of the Viking crack babies of Amon Düül in a garage scrawled with Satanic symbols summoning The Shaggs. Not necessarily spacerock, but definitely of an otherworldly origin. This ensemble has always consisted of the brothers Knut Edvard and Brage Viken, with various other members over the years, and started as a musical project already in childhood. Just about all music is spontaneous and ever performed once. A track like "Dance of The Hemogoblin" can have a primitive electronic "Pong"-like flavor, whereas "The Coming of The Dark God" is a scream fest of belting the title out to a frenzied, staccato lo-fi death metal pummeling. On the other hand, "The Sassie Lassie" might very well be a catchy top 20 alternative hit several realities to the left. There are some crude, interesting voice layerings and effects that remind me of parts of Peter Hammill's "Loops & Reels" (as played underwater?), but mostly its sort of early Amon Düül territory of primitive disaster area jamming and wigged out chanting. Songs (?) like "The Prophets of Lotto", "Unholy Cosmosex" and "Fuck The Sleeping Beauty" are just as traumatic and wildly exciting as their titles suggest. Instrumentally, Lotto are dominated by guitars and a great variety of percussion (often found) and sometimes keyboard, tape effects and vocal weirdness, all quite primitively recorded. Highly recommended for fans of strange music, anti-music and non-music alike. Neutral Milk Hotel fans would really like Lotto, oddly as I don't care for NMH myself, but imagine them and Amon Düül jamming for grubs outside the local fallout shelter.
For more information you can email Knut Edvard Viken at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reviewed by Christian Mumford