Flying Lotus, real name Steven Ellison, is perhaps one of the most renowned and talked about electronic producers of the past decade, enthusing elements of IDM, hip-hop, jazz, glitch-hop and many more styles into his music. Just as varied influences are, each of his releases are very different in his considerably short yet rapidly blooming career so far. For example, while his “Reset” EP flowers on deep, low and glitchy seductive beats while “Los Angeles” is an album that scarily concentrates on intricate textures, especially with the use of clicks and clacks in a mind bending collage of sounds.
And so now we have the fourth full-length album, which is again a considerably new beast altogether from 2010’s “Cosmogramma”. This time around, Flying Lotus turns to a considerably simpler formula (for him) and is perhaps one of his most radio friendly efforts yet, while reiterating the smooth jazz influences that came into play on the “Cosmogramma”. However, the sense of intense thought behind the construction of the beats is still evident in the 18 tracks on this release. Plus, there’s an array of appearances by other musicians, such as Thom Yorke and Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead, Thundercat, Niki Randa and more.
Tiny Tortures, one of the few tracks to overstep the three-minute mark, has a very minimalist feel, featuring layers of bass while more layers of an Eastern stringed-instrument bops or twiddles over the top as the signature clicks pace the song, generating a very smooth and chilled out result. Then Sultan’s Request is a short tease of these rising and falling synth-lines that just seem to flirt together, while all these sounds come and go throughout. There’s also a moment where the synth drop into a low bass, which is just so dirty and thick that it almost feels guilty to enjoy it.
Single Putty Boy Strut is perhaps the most playful track on the album, with this almost overbearing up-beat humour with repetitive claps and these weird and cute squeaking vocals; which then breaks away into a more hypnotic and lower type of modified vocals. It’s the soundtrack to the most exaggerated children’s cartoon of creatures that speak in these vocals, passing each other in a rainbow coloured world where there’s a lurking yet harmless sense that something could go wrong.
In whole, this is just a thoroughly enjoyable album. Understandably, the result effect of this album might differ on which Flying Lotus release is your favourite, but considering how he changes his style with each one, it’s hard to compare to his previous works. The guest appearances, contributions and collaborations also lead to some great outcomes. Basically, if you’re looking for the soundtrack for those days of feeling good and relaxed about life, then this is it. Blissful.
Favourite tracks: DMT Song, Putty Boy Strut, Sultan’s Request.