Alias continues his inspired trip through wordless soundscapes with his third full-length and first collaborative instrumental album, Lillian. On 2003's Muted, Alias (born Brendan Whitney) turned the corner from sample-based beatmaking and introspective raps to live instrumentation and electronic songcraft. He'd taken a giant leap of faith and strangely enough, landed square in his own shoes. Warm, fuzzy and swelled with pride, he sent the first copies of the record back to his family in Maine. Ehren Whitney, eleven years Brandon's junior, was only three when his big brother started plastering the walls of their room with posters of screw-faced rappers but the music's crotchtight grip never quite got ahold of him. In fifth grade he started playing saxophone and discovered he was a natural. Dad, a jazz drummer, would bring Ehren with him to gigs and pretty soon he was jamming along with the old-timers. Word spread through the extended Whitney clan, and before long he'd gathered a pile of hand-me-down highschool band instruments. He learned each in no time at all.
The day that Muted reached Ehren in Hollis, Maine, Alias's phone rang and plans were made: Ehren would fly out to Oakland, flute, alto sax, soprano sax, and clarinet in tow; they'd press record and see what happened. Using a few basic tracks laid down in advance, the brothers began layering sounds and improvising freely. Alias's trademark sounds are all here-- crunchy fuzz, bassy cut up drums, pop-and-click percussion, atmospheric synth, ghostly guitars-- but they're made bright and buoyant by Ehren's incredible ear for melody. The end result is Lillian, a warm and wonderful album inspired by (and named after) their grandmother. The perfect postmodern tribute to an American musical family.