New Flying Lotus album “You’re Dead!”

Flying Lotus' You're dead!

Fly­ing Lotus’ You’re dead!

If secret­ly, in a hid­den cor­ner of your psy­che kept secret­ly secret­ed just for you, you qui­et­ly sus­pect that that man that young mas­ter Zim­mer­man riles against with such sav­age enthu­si­asm on the first of those three extra­or­di­nary albums from 1966 is star­ing back at you from that mir­ror. And that some­how, inex­plic­a­bly, you’ve mor­phed into Jones, Mis­ter, then this is the album to dis­play so loud­ly and with such pride at the head of your playlist.

In his guise as Fly­ing Lotus Steven Elli­son is the man respon­si­ble for keep­ing U2 and Radio­head awake at night as they toss and turn in their tor­tured desire to stay rel­e­vant. Thom Yorke was actu­al­ly a guest vocal­ist on Flylo’s – as he’s inevitably been dubbed – last cou­ple of albums, the break­through Cos­mo­gram­ma from 2010 and Until the Qui­et Comes in 2012, reviewed ear­li­er here.

Flylo gets grilled by Thom Yorke.

Fly­lo gets grilled by Thom Yorke.

You’re Dead! is his fifth album, and it’s effort­less­ly, daz­zling­ly rel­e­vant, and almost casu­al­ly if tri­umphant­ly cur­rent. Nom­i­nal­ly a con­cept album, it’s as much an explo­ration of the tex­ture and feel of sounds as it is of the idea and real­i­ty of death.

That excla­ma­tion mark, so often so irri­tat­ing­ly redun­dant, here hits the nail on the head, as they point out on their review on Pitch­fork here, where it gets an 8.3.

The album man­ages to be at once light and airy, and yet clear­ly con­tem­pla­tive as it con­sid­ers and pon­ders the inevitable. The art work per­fect­ly cap­tures that lightheavy, trip­py dip­py sense of hap­py res­ig­na­tion pro­pelled and punc­tu­at­ed by the rhythms and ten­sions of 21st cen­tu­ry hip hop.

Elli­son is quite sim­ply the man, and this my friend is where it’s at. You can see the video for Nev­er Catch Me fea­tur­ing Kendrick Lamar here.

Sign up for a sub­scrip­tion right or below, and I shall keep you post­ed every week on All the Very Best and Worst in Film, Tele­vi­sion and Music!

Flying Lotus’ inventive new album “Until The Quiet Comes”.

Until The Qui­et Comes is the 4th album from Fly­ing Lotus and con­tin­ues his fear­less for­ay into the very out­er realm of approach­able pop. It’s still in oth­er words a con­ven­tion­al album, but you’re unlike­ly to have heard music that sounds any­thing quite like it.

Or rather, it sounds like stuff you’d already be famil­iar with, but all the dif­fer­ent parts have been mold­ed and fash­ioned in a star­tling­ly orig­i­nal manner.

Steven Elli­son, to give him his full name, is a devo­tee of the pio­neer pro­duc­er J Dil­la. And, as the grand nephew of Alice Coltrane, her­self an accom­plished free jazz musi­cian, as well as being the wife of the leg­endary sax­o­phon­ist John Coltrane, his take on con­tem­po­rary music was always going to be both eclec­ti­cal­ly mul­ti-cul­tur­al and aggres­sive­ly experimental.

But it was only real­ly with his third album, Cos­mo­gram­ma that the world began to sit up and take notice. Just­ly laud­ed across the board, the boys from Pitch­fork gave it an august 8.8 here. So this is his poten­tial­ly dif­fi­cult follow-up.

Until The Qui­et Comes occu­pies the same sort of ter­rain that Radio­head mapped out in their more rest­less moments on Kid A and Amne­si­ac, and that were then fur­ther explored on Thom Yorke’s solo album, The Era­sure.

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, Yorke sur­faces again here as a guest vocal­ist, just as he had on Cos­mo­gram­ma, and is here joined by Erykah Badu. But nei­ther are allowed – or seek – to over­whelm, and are just one more fea­ture in an unchar­tered and sur­pris­ing vista. 

It is qui­eter than Cos­ma­gram­ma, as the boys from Pitch­fork note in their excel­lent review of it, here, where they gave it a mea­sured 8.5. It’s still a land­scape pock-marked by dig­i­tal blips, where con­ven­tion­al melodies are for­ev­er being lost in rhyth­mic detours. But some­how, those detours are less nervy and more mea­sured than they were on the pre­vi­ous album.

What it is more than any­thing else is a head­phones album. It’s not the kind of thing you’re going to be return­ing to every day. But when you do and the mood takes, you’ll be very glad that you did.

Sign up for a sub­scrip­tion right or below, and I shall keep you post­ed every week on All the Very Best and Worst in Film, Tele­vi­sion and Music!