Steven Ellison is a Los Angeles producer who is mostly known by his stage name Flying Lotus, or “FlyLo.” His name may not be familiar with everyone, but many have heard his music on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim or have heard of his great-uncle John Coltrane.
His experimental sounds merge genres like hip-hop, blues, jazz and electronic. The electronic album “Cosmogramma” got Flying Lotus the most recognition, and one of his songs was even featured on HBO’s “True Blood.” His newest album “Until the Quiet Comes” stays true to FlyLo’s blending sounds.
“Until the Quiet Comes” is a mesh of Afrofuturism, neo soul, electronica, hip-hop and jazz. But even those genres can’t keep FlyLo down, because his music transcends them all. The music puts you in a dreamlike state with its airy feel, the soft-toned voices singing and floating from one headphone to another. The album doesn’t have many lyrics but makes up for it with great vocal riffs, percussion and hard hip-hop beats.
The album begins with the track “All In.” The chiming sounds from the harp synths put the listener in an otherwordly state. Constant snare drumming followed by a hard hitting beat leads the audience through the rabbit hole until soft melodic singing signals the end of the track. Electronica, hip-hop and jazz collide and the track ends with Niki Randa’s angelic voice.
“Until the Colours Come” brings in lots of synths layered over one another and continues the euphoria FlyLo has created. Although the track is only about a minute long, it successfully satisfies with a range of fast scales, distant vocal riffs and bells.
“Sultan’s Request” achieves the opposite effect of these previous songs by bringing hard-hitting electronica and hip-hop sounds with energetic pulses and buzzing drones. The heavy distortions shake the album’s ethereal feel but the song still possess slow and long drawn out beats.
Listeners will want to play “Putty Boy Strut” multiple times in the car because of its catchy, off balance hand clapping beat and synth piano.
Erykah Badu contributes her vocals to the jazzy track “See Thru To U.” The fast percussion and Badu’s vocals mix well together and bring back to the listener the feeling of falling into the rabbit hole that ocurred with the earlier tracks.
The album’s title track “Until the Quiet Comes” stretches and shows Flying Lotus’ skills. The song meshes the handclaps, droning beat, percussion and layered synths from the previous tracks into one beautiful melody. The song is fast paced, but the percussion and ghostly intricate synth sounds slow it down a bit.
“me Yesterday//Corded” ties the album up nicely. It begins with a slow and distorted music box sound. The auto-tuned voice whispers soothing lyrics, and the soft beat signals the closing of the album’s journey. But once the song slows and appears to be ending, the track speeds up and takes on another heavy beat. The soft voices and sounds of bells and liquid synth flying around slowly drift and the track finishes with a drumbeat.
“me Yesterday//Corded” would have been the best song to end on because of the grand closing feel and how well it ties up all the great sounds from the rest of the album. But “Dream to Me” is the actual final track and sounds like it should be on another album. “Dream to Me” does sound like a closing track because it slows down the mood but not as well as “me Yesterday//Corded.” The track does not have the multi-layered effect that most of the songs on the album have. Instead, it is merely a continuation of laser and string sounds.
“Until the Quiet Comes” evokes warm, hypnotic moments as the listener travels with the L.A. producer through the album. It flows in and out, making it more like a collection of sounds rather than an album with a clear destination. The sounds may all be different and stretch from different genres, but they come together nicely to help FlyLo achieve the feeling of a psychedelic trance that grabs the listener’s attention until the very last second.
““ Brittany Taylor
Email Taylor at [email protected]