Showing posts with label flying lotus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flying lotus. Show all posts

Friday, May 31, 2019

video review: 'flamagra' by flying lotus

Okay, so this was a little messy, but still quality, still worth talking about too.

Next up... I think I've got Resonators and maybe a Top 10 list, so let's see what happens, stay tuned!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

album review: 'flamagra' by flying lotus

So I'll admit I had to go back and relisten to Cosmogramma and You're Dead! before making this review - and it probably was the first time in five years that I've done so.

And that looks bad, obviously, as both are genuinely great albums that take tangled, jazzy experimentation in their electronic tones and dive into rabbit holes rife with strange samples, twisted analog synths, and the sort of alien vibe that commands the sort of pit-in-your-stomach dread as much as it does my respect and wonder. And that's the funny thing for me: Steven Ellison aka. Flying Lotus creates thematically cohesive, amazingly intricate, and remarkably textured albums that can synthesize genuine beauty... but often cycle around existential themes and central ideas that can be deeply unsettling if you stare into that abyss, and are really best consumed as one long look. People tend to forget that certain tones of Cosmogramma were synthesized from samples of vital-sign monitors and respirators in his dying mother's hospital room, and it's also one reason I've always found it strange that Flying Lotus recruits guest artists for verses on projects like You're Dead! for isolated pieces that feel like fragments separated from a larger album - what might be more startling is how often it manages to work.

So we're dealing with prodigious amounts of talent here... so why has it taken us five years to get a new album when they normally come around a fair bit more quickly? Well, Ellison put out a contentiously received anthology film called Kuso in 2017 and he's been contributing music to other projects, but this year we got news about his newest and longest project planned to date, a concept album surrounding fire, filled with guests from long-running collaborator Thundercat to notable names like Anderson .Paak, Solange, Denzel Curry, and Shabazz Palaces, all the way to surprises like George Clinton, Tierra Whack, and David Lynch. So okay, what rabbit hole is Flying Lotus pulling us into this time?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

video review: 'you're dead!' by flying lotus

Man, this album was fun to talk about. May have gone a little overboard, but still worth a lot of consideration.

Next up... shit, I'm not sure. We'll see, so stay tuned!

album review: 'you're dead!' by flying lotus

I think if I remember 2014 for anything when it comes to my music criticism career, it'll be for two things. The first is turning me around on R&B - it was never really a genre I had embraced before, but with the rising tide of it in the mainstream and some genuinely great albums, I've come to appreciate it a lot more.

And the second would be my exploration of electronic music. I suspect to some extent this will continue to be an ongoing process, as I'm still working on getting a grip on how to write at length about acts that don't really use a lot of lyrics, but with every release, it's getting easier, especially when the acts have a knack for experimentation that can drive a lot of conversation.

Case in point, Flying Lotus, the stage name of L.A. producer Steven Ellison. His career originally kicked into motion with his second album Los Angeles in 2008, but his real success would come from the gleaming, eclectic, and generally pretty damn awesome Cosmogramma in 2010. And even coming from a guy who doesn't tend to love electronic music, that album gripped me immediately with its aggressively textured and detailed percussion, its masterful layered melodies on both synthesizers and classical instrumentation, and the off-kilter twists that suggested more than a passing influence of jazz fusion. Every listen revealed more fascinating twists that hid moments of genuine beauty in the details, not to mention some fantastic grooves that some artists would have elongated into entire songs alone. It's a genuinely thrilling album to listen through, and thus I'll admit I wasn't quite as gripped by his 2012 follow-up Until The Quiet Comes. It was a more restrained record, with more jazzy elements and more guests, but to me it lacked some of the flair, some of those transcendent and gorgeous moments that defined Cosmogramma so well. Plus, the more languid pace made some of the more grating moments drag on longer than they really should.

But all of that wasn't going to put me off checking out Flying Lotus' newest record, You're Dead! And at first glimpse, it looked like something of a different animal, swapping out vocals from Thom Yorke for verses from Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg. So what happened here?