In the spirit of jazz or mid-20th century avant-garde movements, collectivity implies a predilection for the experimental; a decentralised democratisation of sorts, an art against hierarchy. Nowhere in Lifted’s accumulated history is this approach stronger, more reified, than on their second PAN release, aptly named 2.
The collaboration project first started by Matt Papich aka Co La and Future Times’ Max D came about during downtime, caught between the duo’s respective bases of Washington DC and Baltimore; it’s some small miracle that their 2015 debut 1 materialised at all, so alive with crackling audacity. The partnership has since expanded with the core additions of Jeremy Hyman and Motion Graphics, but the overall sense of Lifted, as crystallised on 2, has become akin to that of a collective, counting among their many compatriots Jordan GCZ and Beatrice Dillon. This is to say nothing of the many global underground luminaries continually passing through the studio’s revolving door, including OOIOO bassist/vocalist Aya and Bass Clef.
Despite the amniotic bliss of ‘Mirror In My Room’ and the vivid everything-all-at-once of ‘Purplelight Wish’, Lifted’s most surprising likeness is a freewheeling jazz troupe. Like an auditory illusion or studio trickery, 2 bears the mark of a great, improvised one-take session. Bullish strut ‘Blackpepper’ and upward levitant ‘Total Cure’ exhibit the kind of mangled horn/woodwind work and malformed drum patterns of fusion-era Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, melded with the contemporary deconstructions of New Age and noise-techno aesthetes.
Lifted may be yet to establish a solid headquarters for future endeavours, but if the remarkable interplay of 2 discloses anything, it’s that often great art emanates not from a single source, but from many all at once.