By Joe Layton Flying Lotus’ fourth studio album, Until The Quiet Comes elaborates on his standing as one of the most, if not the most, unique electronic music producer.
Steven Ellison also known as Flying Lotus or simply FlyLo, comes from a weighty lineage of music, being the nephew of jazz pianist Alice Coltrane, the wife of John Coltrane. This influence is heard in all of Lotus’ work, often described as electronic jazz. Until The Quiet Comes elaborates on this idea, never staying on one phrase or beat for longer than 15-30 seconds.
All of Lotus’ albums are one continuous idea rather than individual songs. While there are denominations of songs, a common thread moves throughout the whole album, making it hard to listen to one song individually. The ending of one song is the beginning of the next. Think Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon.
There is also something to be said about any artist who releases their work on vinyl, and especially an electronic artist. They care about quality. In a time when online remixes and releases pour through the blogs daily and any music can be downloaded or streamed in poor quality, Lotus is obviously still a fan of great sound. Vinyl is also a perfect medium to listen to Until The Quiet Comes because the tracks on a vinyl have no separation, the whole album is one continual line etched into the disk.
The album jumps right in with the percussion driven “All In.” The song morphs between dreamlike synths and dark string compositions and transitions to the next song with a floating vocal from Niki Randa. “Getting There” exemplifies the heavy drum style that Lotus is known for, scattered and almost offbeat, but perfectly in time with the song. In an interview Lotus has said that he accomplishes this by playing the drum samplers with his hands instead of quantizing (letting the computer automatically perfect the rhythm) them.
The album moves through house beats, slower darker beats, and everything in between. “Sultan’s Request” is a headnodic track with an oscillating synth, like you might hear in modern dub step. Lotus uses sounds and styles of all electronic music, and many other types of music including jazz, latin, classical, and hip hop to create a sound that sounds nothing like any of the aforementioned genres.
Lotus’ music is non-linear, the opposite of the way most electronic producers compose songs. Many electronic compositions goes in between a build and a drop, some kind of crescendo building in intensity into the next section of the song only to repeat. Lotus blends so many different samples so that there is no distinct separation between sections of songs.
Some big names appear on Lotus’ album including Erykah Badu and Thom Yorke. Thundercat, who is part of Lotus’ label Brainfeeder lends his bass expertise to a few tracks on the album. Badu and Yorke’s vocal give the tracks they are featured on a universal, space-like presence.
A disclosure to the first time Fying Lotus listener: this is undoubtedly some esoteric music, like nothing you’ve ever heard before. Lotus aims to take you to a dreamland so it may take a couple of listens through to understand the concept. But, if you give it some time and keep an open mind, Until The Quiet Comes may become one of your favorite albums.