Lotus' 'Build' LP The First of Three New Albums

C Flanigan

A hip-hop-flavored collection will follow the February album later this year.

Lotus' upcoming "Build" is just the tip of the iceberg as far as new music coming from the electronic-oriented jam band. Keyboardist-guitarist Luke Miller tells Billboard that thanks to a relatively light touring schedule during 2012, the group "ended up recording, like, two and a half albums" and will likely put out three between "Build's" arrival on Feb. 19 and early 2014.

"We did less shows in 2012 than we had done in a long time, so that gave us more time to write and be in the studio," Miller explains. "In the past we've done 85 to 100 shows a year, and I think in 2012 we did more like 60 or something -- not for any big reason, just to have some time off the road. But even if we're not on the road we're still going to be making music, and that gave us time to make a lot of it. We didn't start with any sort of specific ideas, just a ton of songs."

The albums will each have different characters, however. Millers says "Build" is "the more electronic-focused, uptempo songs that came out. It has a little bit more rock edge but with the electronic content, and we felt those (songs) were working well together, and that became one album." He says some of "Build's" songs have been around "for as long as two years" and all have been played live by Lotus, though he notes that "some of them went through a lot of different arrangements before we settled on one for the album."

The other albums, meanwhile, include one that Miller describes as "a little more laid-back," which were recorded with some guest vocalists, mostly from New York. The third album will be a hip-hop flavored collection called "Monks," featuring guest MCs such as Lyrics Born, Gift of Gab, Mr. Lif, Doodlebug from Digable Planets and others. "That's got more of an early 90s vibe with the instrumentation," Miller notes. "That's the kind of stuff we're into -- A Tribe Called Quest, Digable Planets, that kind of vibe, but it's got the Lotus spin to it. In between the tracks we've got some kind of abstract instrumentals, maybe like Flying Lotus or Medeski, Martin & Wood-sounding stuff."

Miller predicts that "Monks" will be out later this year, with the other album likely in 2014. Lotus is currently in the midst of an extensive U.S. tour that wraps up with a three-night stand April 4-6 in Boulder, Colo., and Miller expects a summer run, heavy with festival dates, to be announced soon.