Some artists will trot out new releases every year, but deliver nothing new or innovational that deviates from their standard formulas. Others will design exceptional albums, but have discographies that are limited, to say the least. Seldom do artists find that precious balance between quantity and quality. Andrew Othling, “a multi-instrumentalist, producer and artist” out of Albuquerque, is one of those rare finds. Performing as Lowercase Noises, Othling’s discography encompasses ten different albums, EPs, and singles in just six years (though he started Noises in 2005). In that time, he has expanded his popularity greatly – his oldest tracks have only about 20,000 listens, compared to 3-4 million on some of his more recent endeavors. But his success is hardly just a matter of consistent production. His thematically savvy, emotionally engrossing albums are refined works of art by a musician whose talents are put to full use in carrying out his vision.
His 2014 album This Is for Our Sins is perhaps the most compelling attraction for new listeners. With five years of production experience under his belt as an independent artist, TIOS is a great example of how an artist can bind an album together like a book. Ambient music as a genre lends itself extremely well to this task. Instead of relying on lyrics, where ideas can be lost, muddled, or misheard, ambient albums put all of their themes on the table with titles and track names that encapsulate their intended meanings. In TIOS, Othling constructs a world of struggle and toil on a massive scale with such expressive titles as “The Hungry Years,” “Famine and the Death of a Mother,” and “Silence of Siberia.” Additionally, he incorporates sweeping orchestral movements along with precise piano motifs and lonesome-sounding banjoes. The effect is not terribly different from watching a film, except that you are allowed to imagine the story.
Yet no single album can fully capture Othling’s visionary abilities. One album from 2011, Migratory Patterns, is a concept piece based on a mysterious whale that has baffled scientists with its solitary travels – its soft electronica provides a great contrast both to his more rock-oriented works and to the orchestral magnificence of TIOS. Whatever our tastes as listeners might make us think of Lowercase Noises, the hardest thing to do would be to dismiss it entirely. Expanding across numerous genre lines and thematic influences, Othling’s “brainchild” is quickly growing into a powerful dynamo. If this is what Othling’s creation can do after only ten years of life, who knows what might be achieved in another decade?