Flying Lotus throws inspired curveballs at those expecting more glitch-hop
How would leftfield beat king Steven Ellison, otherwise known as FlyLo, outdo his virtuosic third record, 2010’s Cosmogramma? Fans of the West Coast’s warped electronic pioneer took to the blogosphere, Twitterverse and assorted cyberspace destinations over the summer, letting their skepticism get the best of them. They should have known better: Ellison's wide-ranging artistry has been leaving ticketgoers speechless since his early involvement with L.A.’s famed experimental hip-hop/electronic night, Low End Theory.
Well, to quote Britney Spears, another L.A resident to have toyed with electronic textures, oops, he did it again. The 28-year-old’s latest record, Until the Quiet Comes, finds the psychedelic glitch-hopper carving out a wholly distinct landscape of undulating melodies, ominously funky moods and jazz-y flourishes that set him apart from his wobble bass brethren. It’s a celestial, ghostly soundscape that conjures up strikingly eerie cinematic stories. Given that the man has always wrestled with the decision to put aside filmmaking aspirations in order to build on the musical heritage laid out by his great aunt (jazz pianist Alice Coltrane), it’s fitting proof that his imaginative mind might someday contribute to the silver screen.
In the meantime, though, the intuitive beat conductor is keeping quite busy wowing us with his comprehensive musical sensibilities. Inspired collaborations with a number of high-profile musicians on this latest record (Thom York and Erykah Badu among them) remind us why everyone from Rihanna to Beck want to work with the guy: their vocals are used as meditative sonic layers that go beyond merely accompanying rhythmic textures or boisterous synths. They become instruments in their own right – as intrinsic to each track’s foundation as any of his intoxicating basslines. The Brainfeeder label head is clearly a man of vision.