Steve Ellison has been expanding the boundaries of electronic music since his debut “1983” was released back in 2006. His heady mixture of Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop and Electro-Soul combining sublime yet sometimes nightmarish electronic soundscapes has served to make him one of the most eclectic and influential artists of the 21st century.
FlyLo’s 4th album proper, “Until the Quiet Comes” is possibly his most accessible to date and sees an evolution of style, whilst keeping true to the core sound that is uniquely his. The album opens with “All In”, a warm and dreamlike piece, incorporating harps, synths and metronomic beats to create a beautiful prologue to the tracks which follow.
The first half dozen of these, seamlessly blend to create an ethereal and somewhat trance inducing state, from which one is rudely awoken, by the claustrophobic “Sultan’s Request”, which throws the cold water of deep sub-bass over the unsuspecting listener. It is from here that the album changes direction. “Putty Boy Strut” is an oddity in the context of the rest of the album, with a simplistic, metallic chip tune melody dominating proceedings. However, as the track evolves that initial clank is warmed by FlyLo’s signature Electro-Soul Sonics giving it a better grounding in the aesthetic of the album as a whole.
It is testament to FlyLo’s ever increasing popularity and influence that he has managed to draft in some big names for guest appearances on the album.“The First Lady of Neo Soul” Erykah Badu features on “See Thru To U” which is the most immediately accessible tune here. The track sees Ellison doffing his cap to his jazz heritage with free form bass licks complimented beautifully by Badu’s vocal and tribal style drum patterns.
“Electric Candyman” featuring Radiohead front man Thom Yorke, is psychedelic gumbo with Yorke’s vocals used only as another ingredient in the rich, musical soup FlyLo is cooking. The vocals are almost uniformly used in this manner for the expanse of the entire record (with the exception of “See Thru To U”) and this too is a testament to Steve Ellison’s confidence in his art and vision.
The eclectic nature of Flying Lotus’ influences has driven him to the forefront of his genre and “Until the Quiet Comes” is as eclectic as they come. “DMT Song” and “The Night Caller” make for some of the standout moments on the album. Bringing to mind early Genesis mixed with jazz and funk bass lines with a healthy smattering of techno stabs creating two of the most entertaining moments of the record.
Flying Lotus has created an album of breathtaking depth and originality; his undoubted skills as a producer has grown in leaps and bounds in the 2 years since Cosmogramma’s release. FlyLo was overlooked for a Grammy in 2010 and it is doubtful that “Until the Quiet Comes” will change that. However this fault lies not with Ellison but with an industry still not ready for vision and creativity of this calibre.
Stream the album at the Guardian and purchase via itunes and all other quality retail outlets.