Flying Lotus

Until the Quiet Comes is everything you'd expect from a Flying Lotus album, which is to say it's largely unexpected. In our genre-defying age of computer-based quasi hip-hop, wherein producers add insane effects and filters to everything just for the sake of sounding wierd, Flying Lotus manages to conjure the perfect amount of esoterica without going over the edge. The result is a unique, identifiable style that has garnered fans from every creed of music. It's that same crossover effect that's enabled him to work with the likes of Thom Yorke to Erykah Badu to Niki Randa (all of whom are featured on this album.) He's also proved once again that he's capable of growth. After almost a decade of constantly redefining his style, Fly Lo has managed to incorporate synthy dance to his usual jazzy, psychedelic swag.

In contrast to his previous effort Cosmogramma, Lotus' new album leans less on the traditional hip-hop side and dips more into the realm of electronica. It's still incredibly soulful but noticably different. It's more unified musically. The notion of his classic "jazziness" presents itself here as more of a feel for obscure time signatures and patterns. The album kicks off with the flighty and inspired "All In." The string-laden beat builds layer by layer with an uptempo drum pattern that would be all over the place if not for a double time snare that glues it all together. Erratically-placed shaker measures and FlyLo's signature trippy effects really make the song shine. The tracklist is so well thought-out that outros are often blended in to the next song. In fact the press copy I reeived was presented as one long mp3. I recommend first-time listeners take to it as a whole.

I imagine the execs at Warp Records had a rough time trying to determine which track to promote from this cohesive work. That's probably why the first promo for the album was a collaborative piece with filmmaker Kahlil Joseph. Accompanied by three songs, the striking visuals were shot in the Nickerson Gardens housing project in FlyLo's hometown of Los Angeles. For anyone wanting a quick, digestible sample of Until the Quiet Comes check the video of the same name here.

The aformentioned tracks are the previously leaked Erykah Badu collab "See Thru To U" as well as "Hunger" and "Getting There" both of which feature the ghostly crooning of Niki Randa. Though merely snippets, each track meshes nicely with the film, peaking during the most hip-hop influenced "Getting There." I say it's the most hip-hop influenced of the three because the drums recall the hard drums Flying Lotus built his reputation on. From a deeply side-chained kick, super late high hats, rhythmic shaker and a snare layered from what sounds like chains banging the ground, FlyLo builds a beautifully simple string-heavy melody. Niki Randa lays down an ethereal, reverbed out vocal track that can only be described as breathtaking.

When Flying Lotus does embrace his EDM side he does so just as skillfully. "Tiny Tortures" upon first listen sounds like it must be the one Thom Yorke is featured on. On the contrary, the Radiohead frontman appears much later on the album and it becomes clear Lotus may have just emerged from a deep OK Computer phase. The heavy bass and guitar on this off-kilter beat showcases his ability to change style at will. The syncopation comes from of a super short, heavily-filtered snare and kicks that somehow manage to hit a million times a measure and still work. Another choice cut is "Putty Boy Strut" which also has a dancey bounce to it. This uptempo, bitcrushed jam sounds like the theme song to a videogame someone desperatley needs to make. It too is accompanied by a visual, this time an animated story directed by Cyriak Harris. The twisted electronic jungle of a city features biomorphic robots cannibalizing each other. It somehow matches the beat perfectly. Peep the carnage here.

Until the Quiet Comes is a stellar example of what truly talented people can do when they stop giving a shit about genres and what equiptment qualifies you as cutting edge. Fly Lo manages to create an unusually sophiticated and well-produced album with mostly a laptop. For anyone with even a remote interest in electronic music from hip-hop, house, dance even dubstep I suggest you hear this record. In brief, just buy the damn thing and support one of the most creative beatsmiths of our generation.

-Nick McClure