Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! [Album Review]

Flying Lotus You're Dead Album Cover
Flying Lotus You’re Dead Album Cover

Between running Brainfeeder Records, scoring films and performing to sold out crowds at Coachella, it’s somewhat flabbergasting that Steve Ellison still finds time to release a full length studio album. Otherwise, known as Flying Lotus, the man has come a long way since first having his music featured on Adult Swim all those moons ago.

Maturity is perhaps the simplest word to use when describing the sound of one of Warp‘s most foremost composers and producers. In practice, however, you’ll find that it’s not that simple. Songs such as Never Catch Me however, encapsulate this maturity more so than others.

Whilst the constants throughout his career have always been down to his experimental nature, it is those very same experiments that have proven to be the variables. This is no were else as present as it is in Turkey Dog Coma, a Jazz laden medley. Thundercat’s bass fingerings are ever present in all the madness that this album has to offer. This provides a familiar element, which however is contrasted by the chanting vocals and tons of specious reverb.

Coronus, The Terminator is by definition, your quintessential Flying Lotus. But it also manages to bridge the gap between his earlier, more down-tempo works and his newer sound, which is more spacious and robust.

In a world where trends dominate mainstay pop culture, it takes something truly special in order to stand out from the crowd. This is a bit of a conundrum, seeing as any step away from the norm is always feared to alienate the majority of mainstream listeners. Once again, Flying Lotus somehow manages to expand his horizons whilst exercising the pulling power of featuring the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Hip Hop legend Snoop Dogg. You’re Dead is truly in a league, all of its own.

Flying Lotus – You’re Dead!

Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

We finally got our hands on a copy of Fly-Lo’s You’re Dead. It features the likes of Herbie Hancock, Kamasi Washington, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and Thundercat, amongst many others.

Based on what we’ve already heard, we’re very excited about this album. We truly can’t wait to add the 12″ version to our collection!

We’ll be publishing a full review of this album very soon! But for now why don’t you check out this single review we did of Never Catch Me featuring Kendrick Lamar.

Lapalux – Puzzle [Single Review]

Lapalux album cover
Lapalux album cover

Soulful is hardly a new word to use when describing the lush sounds of Lapalux. Puzzle is a sultry blend of sounds, motifs, effects and otherworldly textures.

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Lapalux is how he continues to carve out his own niche. Even more noteworthy is the fact that his label mates are artists such as Tokimonsta, Flying Lotus, Thundercat and The Gaslamp Killer, each a masterful musician in their own unique way.

You can listen to Puzzle in the embedded player below along with a selection of other songs from his forthcoming album, Lustmore. Alternatively you can click the direct link below the embedded player, which will take you directly to the song on Lapalux’s Soundcloud account.

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly [Album Review]

Kendrick Lamar - To Pimp A Butterfly Album Artwork
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly Album Artwork

Is Hip Hop dead? Well it all depends on who you ask. With Flying Lotus, Boi-1da and Thundercat plus many more featured on production, ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ was always going to be a colourful album.

At first King Kunta seems like a steady ride until the key changes start occurring at a rate faster than one’s ears can anticipate. The song seems to blend a topic of historical importance, in slavery; ‘Everybody wanna cut the legs off him, King Kunta, Black man taking no losses’, with issues Lamar perceives in the modern music industry ‘I was gonna kill a couple of rappers but they did it to themselves, Everybody’s suicidal they don’t even need my help’.

These Walls is an R&B laced and featured packed song with Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat all contributing towards the song’s final incarnation. With clean drums providing a solid backdrop, a pad, synthesizers and a lusciously warming bass all come together to provide the perfect platform for Lamar to shine.

U seems to tilt the listening experience back to the mysterious side of things. The song is a roller coast of emotions, albeit on a more depressing note; ‘Shoulda killed yo ass a long time ago, You shoulda felt that black revolver blast a long time ago’. It reveals some of Lamar’s darker moments and seems more like a moment of venting than a moral lesson.

If U presents a one-sided story of self-loathing then Alright seems to be a catalyst that might lead to a solution to that issue. The song ends in a similar manner to a number of songs on this album, with a spoken word passage.

For Sale? is another interlude, and one addressing something darker, with the seductive ‘Lucy’ representing Lucifer. The song is addressing one of humanity’s oldest superstitions in a deceptive manner, clothed in a soulful aroma.

Hood Politics as the name suggests is a politically driven number. The song, whilst essentially repetitive at a melodic level, seems to offer more in terms of thought provoking lyricism; ‘They tell me it’s a new gang in town, From Compton to Congress’.

By the time the album begins to wind down, you realize the importance of this offering from Kendrick Lamar. If not his opus magnum then the album at least marks the beginning of Kendrick’s stint as one of, if not, the top dog in Hip Hop. With many already proclaiming him as the new ‘King of Hip Hop’, Lamar shines on The Blacker The Berry.

The dynamism of Kendrick Lamar is evidently on display throughout this masterpiece. Having nearly broken Spotify with first day hits peaking at more than 9 million streams, it’s fair to say that Kendrick Lamar has reached new heights in his career.

Kamasi Washington – Re Run Home [Single Review]

Kamasi Washington - Re Run Home - Artwork
Kamasi Washington – Re Run Home – Artwork

Re Run Home by Kamasi Washington is jazz reinvented for the modern masses and future generations alike. The level of mastery on display here is largely unrivalled and sometimes goes uncelebrated.

Washington’s latest album, The Epic, features a 32-piece orchestra; a 20 strong choir, and it total, 17 songs comprise the album.

The Jazzman who has previously featured on Flying Lotus’s albums Cosmogramma and You’re Dead!, calls upon fellow label mate Thundercat on bass and his brother, Ronald Bruner Jr. on drums.

Re Run Home perfectly encapsulates what Washington and co. are all about, perfectly flawless yet seemingly unrefined compositions teeming with complimentary motifs at every turn.

Flying Lotus – Never Catch Me ft. Kendrick Lamar [Single Review]

Flying Lotus - you're dead album cover
Flying Lotus – you’re dead album cover

Perhaps what’s most appealing about Flying Lotus is both the depth in his music as well as the visual appeal. From idea to execution, this is a man who is constantly on the move.  Never Catch Me is taken from the native Californian’s latest album ‘You’re Dead’.

This song is a contradiction in and of itself, in that the mellow sounding pads somehow sit well with Kendrick Lamar’s energetic performance. The song gradually builds up to the constant sound of a synth pad backed by some slightly swinging drums.