Release Date: Oct 2, 2012
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Club/Dance
FLYING LOTUS plays the Danforth Music Hall on October 13. See listing. Rating: NNNNN It's kind of a wonder that Flying Lotus, a musician deliberately esoteric in his influence and output, has gained wider notoriety. That's obviously a swipe at the idea of the "average listener" - and the influence of slick PR - than a shot at FlyLo.
Making music for those post-bong-hit moments where even the dust balls in your bedroom seem wholly resplendent, Steven "Flying Lotus" Ellison has a taste for 21st-century soul jazz with swarming high-end displays – a whirl of high-hats, static, hand claps and, quite possibly, subatomic-particle chatter. Meanwhile, his bass abstractions (check "Sultan's Request") turn dubstep into gallery art. It all adds up to something so captivating that vocal guests like Erykah Badu ("See Thru to U") can get a little lost.
Flying LotusUntil The Quiet Comes[Warp; 2012]By Will Ryan; September 28, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetThe Journey is a constant fixation in Steve Ellison's work. On Ellison's debut as Flying Lotus, 1983, the journey was temporal, on its followup, Los Angeles, it was geographical, and on 2010's Cosmogramma, the voyage was cosmic as well as out-and-out musical. It's, of course, the subtext of these little jaunts that make them so potent.
Dreams are an incorporeal and disheveled tangle of the mundane, strange and awe-inspiring experiences humans haul through life. Most slip past our purview upon waking, like mice scurrying away from a livid chef. Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus) manages to ensnare 18 night visions on his latest psych-bass masterwork, Until the Quiet Comes. Returning collaborators Thom Yorke, Erykah Badu, Thundercat, Niki Randa and Laura Darlington populate this lush, genre-less experiment, but FlyLo is the musical wizard at the center of it all.
Rewarding as it was for most lovers of 1983 and Los Angeles, Cosmogramma was so complex and knotted that Steven Ellison's next step could have gone beyond the challenging and into the self-parodic. On his fourth album, Ellison not only peels away layers from his sound but organizes his tracks into a gracefully flowing sequence. The producer once again draws from numerous instrumentalists and vocalists, from Brainfeeder associates Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner and Austin Peralta to the likes of Erykah Badu and Thom Yorke.
If Flying Lotus’ last album, ‘Cosmogramma’, was made in a galaxy far, far away, his fourth, ‘Until The Quiet Comes’, is his return to earth. If the last was about rhythm, the follow-up is about melody. If his past work gave you an electric shock, this one will blow your head apart. At times it’s a prog record, as it meanders and experiments.
Fuck knows what it sounds like on drugs. Listening to this is like walking into the scene at the end of that Indiana Jones film where all the most esoteric, mysterious artifacts of adventures past are crated and stacked, casual-like. A flurry of twinkling keys just tossed into the atmosphere. A jazzy bassline strokes the neck of an Eastern violin.
Steven Ellison called his breakthrough album as Flying Lotus Los Angeles, and his music still has a strong metaphorical connection to the city. He's an admirer of producers like Dr. Dre, but Ellison's vision mixes the pulse of contemporary urban life with an extra dose of sci-fi futurism. He has his ear to the ground in terms of what's happening now and what's real, but his mind is fixated on what might happen tomorrow-- part Boyz n the Hood, part Blade Runner.
What happens when you get too far ahead? The answer to that question when you're talking about Flying Lotus is that you only get more popular. Cosmogramma, the complex third album from the Los Angeles producer, was his greatest critical and commerical success. It was a right time, right place scenario. Building off the widely heralded Los Angeles, Steven Ellison had the freedom to do just about anything he wanted.
It’s appropriate that digital review copies of Flying Lotus’ latest opus Until the Quiet Comes came as a single 47-minute track, because, more than most works, it demands to be heard as a complete whole from beginning to end. When listened to in this way, you come to appreciate how Until the Quiet Comes is all about hiding the seams, whether you’re talking about where and how to chop up the individual tracks or the way FlyLo takes all his varied inputs and combines them in a way as if they were always meant to be together as he has arranged them. Indeed, Steven Ellison blends high-concept electronica, deconstructed hip-hop, and playful avant jazz with such mastery that each element is indecipherable on its own terms in his mix and becomes a component of a hybrid genre all his own.
At this point, you should know what you're getting with a Flying Lotus album. After all, he's been on a ridiculous winning streak for the past few years-2008's Los Angeles introduced his unique electronic/hip-hop/DJ/funk/jazz hybrid to the masses, and then 2010's Cosmogramma solidified his spot on the majority of year-end lists. By now, you should know that you'll be getting 45 minutes to an hour of some of the best, most flowed, blissed-out, fusion music you can imagine.
Standing near the rear of his first “possibly seizure-inducing” DJ festival set, an aging producer glanced my way and broke down his opinion of the current state of electronic music: “For kids these days, it’s all about the tension. It’s like watching a squirrel try to cross the street. With his short memory, he’s nearly always paralyzed by fear.
Comparable to the larger profiles of Danger Mouse, DJ Shadow and Madlib, Flying Lotus is a musician and producer rooted within Hip Hop yet steadily toiling outside of its exclusive confines. As the visionary force behind sensational jazz singer Jose James and bassist Thundercat, his wide range has earned a respectable online presence that has extended to instrumental works featured on Blu’s NoYork! LP and Adult Swim. Routinely honing the craft he has built since 2006, Until The Quiet Comes is the latest trip through the evolving trajectory of Flying Lotus.
It's easy to see why Flying Lotus has built up such a high-profile following: Erykah Badu and Thom Yorke, who both guest on the LA producer's fourth album, are long-time devotees; Venus Williams, who does not, celebrated her Wimbledon doubles title this year by going raving in East London with him. Until the Quiet Comes is packed full of ideas. Among the most beguiling are the shimmering funk of The Nightcaller – percussion rustling through an undergrowth of squelching bass and gently murmured vocals – and the wind-up toy melody underpinning Putty Boy Strut.
Listen again to the opening seconds of Cosmogramma. Now do the same with “All In,” the opening track of Until the Quiet Comes, Steven Ellison’s fourth record as Flying Lotus. Everything you need to know about the difference between these two records is contained there, each album’s essence potently distilled. If you like what you hear in the latter case, then good for you.
"Putty Boy Strut" aside, Until The Quiet Comes retreats somewhat from the densely packed, ADHD, computer-game glitch of Cosmogramma and the Pattern+Grid World EP. Flying Lotus's fourth album proper stands out from his 2010 releases by virtue of its masterful use of space and its mellower, jazzier mood. Having grown up under the influence of spiritual jazz giant, and aunt, Alice Coltrane, Until The Quiet Comes demonstrates a deeper, more spiritual side without bordering on pretension for even a second.
‘Until The Quiet Comes’ is a journey that begins and ends with ellipses. It’s as if you’ve woken up in the middle of it, contained in a capsule gliding though space. It’s a record that instantly envelopes you in its world, submerges you in a nocturnal dreamscape, as you look out on the vastness that lies in front.If that sounds hyperbolic just take a listen.
California producer finds his happy place on this exceptional LP. Marcus J. Moore 2012. 2010’s Cosmogramma was a watershed moment for experimental producer Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus. At no point in his relatively short career had the California native sounded so fidgety and restless ….
Jamey Johnson From a distance you’d be right to cast a wary eye toward “Livin’ for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran,” which comes with a classic repertory, a nostalgic premise and the guest register of a Nashville gala. Up close the album seems nobly intentioned, and practically hand sewn. It’s the work of an ascendant purist with new capital to spend: Jamey Johnson has shown, through his previous two albums on Mercury Nashville, a staunch concern for craft and legacy.
Since Cosmogramma, Flying Lotus' music has been dreamlike, in the sense that it (consciously or not) eschews typical logic of cause and consequence. It actively resists the formation of concrete short-term memories, consisting instead of an extended series of individually heightened moments, each of which feels deeply significant while it's present, but begins to erode away as soon as it's replaced by the next set of sensations. On Until The Quiet Comes, everything is geared towards the systematic erasure of what came before: the huge amount of detail packed into every second; the beats that escape the grid and land in unexpected places, challenging the mind's attempts to predict their trajectory; the continued primacy of whatever sensory experiences are available right now; the almost entirely uniform - even monotonous - nature of the album's sound palette, which for much of its length barely raises above a whisper's volume; the comparative lack of hooks or repeated motifs to latch onto.
You can’t avoid thinking of Flying Lotus’s relation to the Coltranes when you listen to Until The Quiet Comes. The late Alice Coltrane—the wife of legendary avant-garde jazz musician John Coltrane and a jazz musician in her own right—is the great aunt of the Los Angeles-based producer, also known as Steven Ellison. His music has always deftly eluded categorization because it is composed of several different genres including instrumental hip-hop, psychedelic jazz, dubstep, funk and soul.