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LONER w/ 10th Letter Ensemble, African Space Program & Red Waters Music Collective + DJ Stefan Ringer at 529

  • 529 529 Flat Shoals Avenue Southeast Atlanta, GA, 30316 United States (map)

LONER formed in a frenzied moment of inspiration on August 14, 2016. Up until its current incarnation, LONER spent years incubating under the subdued tones of a single guitar in Joshua Loner’s singer-songwriter solo projects. A journey toward sobriety, the re-exploration of sexual identity, the desire for exhibitionism, and a new interest in crossdressing created the impetus for Josh buying a plane ticket to New York. It was here that Josh found a physical backdrop that matched the chaos and scale that their identity begged to communicate. The trip to New York made blatantly clear the need for a stylistic departure from the singer-songer works of Josh’s past; the stripped down noises of their former work no longer communicated the entropy the songs and person demanded. There needed to be more. Something, ironically, Loner couldn’t do alone. 

Without any prior collaboration, the members came together in an empty house with the base desire to create something beautiful. Initially it was cacophony, but the force of prolific creativity is ingrained every one of their individual characters. Singer and guitarist Joshua Loner is on their eighth musical project; Shae Edman comes from a theatre background, sings and is a regular force in Atlanta’s visual art scene; Nadav Flax is in three other musical projects; percussionist Chris Gravely regularly performs jazz performances, is a part of Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra, Dekalb Symphony orchestra, and several side projects; the saxophonist, Kassle Molinar, also comes from a classical background and is involved in his own solo project; and Carolyn Reis is a philosophy major who developed her touch for flute in a classical setting. Together they disassembled Josh’s previous work and rebuilt every song in the image of their new collective.

The combination of all of the unique parts and identities in LONER fuses into something that is totally contradictory: managing to sound both chaotic and harmonic, both drilled with rigorous planning, but still subtly free in its collective articulation―the initial chaos of their first meeting has come to define their sound. The band draws sonic maps together beforehand and then trust each other enough to make spontaneous musical decisions on stage. It is equal parts calculated and intuitive, combining the musical theatrics of a cabaret with the aggressive political nature of a punk show. 

Each show LONER plays provides the musicians with new opportunities to create and fill the venue with deep pockets of space that are carved by the learned ricochet of Gravely’s drums; driving melodies and sharp orders of musical form and drama are accentuated by the sensitive and giving ear of Nadav Flax; It is with the lyrical desperation and the great hope of Josh and Shae that songs are separated from mere pop and, by impression, moved into the sphere of theatre. The textures are considered and then layered by the charismatic and piercing saxophone tones of Kassle; Carolyn raises her notes around, waits, and then moves around the walls of sounds, like a bird, gentle and with clear purpose—It is all of this and it is all at once: distilled from chaos and order into something much greater than the individual parts alone: a driving collective of sound and rhythm, politics and theatre, new and old. 

It shouldn’t work, but it does. Their new record “In The Tides of Time” is truly something new.