It’s 2012 and we’ve wholeheartedly entered the Internet Age. Virtual methods of music-making have become more common. “Laptop” producers splice together collected or artificial sounds to access new musical textures or mimic old ones via electronic intermediaries. No longer do all band members have to be in the same room, plucking away at strings. (The rise of ensemble folk bands like Mumford & Sons and Fleet Foxes reveals an anxiety about this disappearance of skilled instrumentation and music-as-physical-community.)
Enter Flying Lotus, or FlyLo, who has been mixing sounds for years on acclaimed albums like Los Angeles (2008) and Cosmogramma (2010). His newest album, Until the Quiet Comes (2012), certainly strengthens ideas heard on previous releases. But while those albums collected smaller electronic experiments, Until the Quiet Comes runs together like a prolonged dream. The effect is positively Freudian. Musical elements arise, are repressed or heightened, and flow on – not necessarily to a “resolution”, but to a moment of stoppage, as if the brain has switched its attention to something else. (FlyLo claims to have conceived the album through astral projection.) There are direct musical influences – hints of free jazz, African percussion, and psychedelia, compounded by riffs on trip-hop and dubstep. And the album is FlyLo’s most human, featuring collaborations with vocalists like Erykah Badu, Thom Yorke, Laura Darlington, Niki Randa, and his protégé Thundercat. In my view, it is FlyLo’s best work yet – dreamlike, innovative, weirdly catchy, and compelling enough to listen to without skipping a track. Highlights include “All In”, “Sultan’s Request”, “See Thru to U” (featuring Erykah Badu), and the complex “me Yesterday//Corded”. Recorded in an LA bedroom using the Ableton Live sequencer on his MacBook Pro, Until the Quiet Comes shows that though music increasingly finds home in the virtual world, it is all part of the same continuum. If Dizzy Gillespie were alive, he’d be working with FlyLo right now.
P. S. – Be sure to check out the accompanying short film directed by Kahlil Joseph. –Courtney Duckworth