Friday, 5 August 2016

Flying Lotus "You're Dead!" (2014)

American musician Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus is an acclaimed Experimental Hip Hop producer. This album, his fifth, is a primarily an instrumental and fleshed out collection of organic and exploratory beats. I caught wind of it back in 2014 when it was being heavily promoted via billboards and mainstream advertising, it received a lot of positive press but unfortunately I don't share in its praise, this album is great on paper but the listening experience is rather unfocused, lucid and wandering. Its a journey without a destination, unaware of itself. Perhaps that's its genius but as much as I enjoy wondering along through the experience it doesn't amount to anything emotional or memorable. Its just simply there one moment and the next its not.

Two records come to mind, DJ Shadow's "Endtroducing...", a record of care and craft that first explored Instrumental Hip Hop and The Future Sounds Of London's "Lifeforms", for its journey through sound that often steered clear of conventional song formats. "You're Dead!" starts of with a moment of structure and form with Jazz Hop beats and a feature from "Kendrick Lamar" but beyond that the album quickly strolls into psychedelic exploration as layered beats loosely guide the narrative provided by an eclectic array of samples often with something genuinely interesting at its focal point. The craft and attention to detail is ruthless. These beats don't loop, break or rarely create that sense of perpetual motion. They expand, contract and often organically flow through an ever changing landscape of sound. Its mellow, chilled and easily enjoyed but what it amounts to alludes me.

I feel no sense of brooding emotion or vision and without that it is an underwhelming listen. Everything worthy of notice is fleeting, momentary and directionless. Aesthetically gorgeous, musically empty, I couldn't find something to hold onto. I felt it could of done with more structure but as a listener If i can't hear the vision it doesn't really matter. I will certainly give Lotus some more of my time, maybe one of his other records will suit me more than this one.

Favorite Tracks: Never Catch Me, Decent Into Madness
Rating: 5/10