Review: Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
Published on October 8th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
“A children’s record, a record for kids to dream to” is how Steven Ellison described Until the Quiet Comes, his fourth album as Flying Lotus, to The Wire magazine. He went even further in this interview with Vibe magazine, saying…
“I feel like that [dream] world fascinates me so much. That feeling is very present in the artist’s mind where creative ideas flourish. The notion of the unknown and beyond is something that I’ve always been curious about, and the music and work that do is where I can ask those questions.”
…and through such channelling has ‘FlyLo’ been able to conjure – along with Mouse on Mars’s Parastrophics – 2012’s craziest, loosest, most technicolour electronic LP, slightly less eclectic than its Rocksucker-nominated counterpart but exhibiting a similar mastery surrealist sonic architecture.
Liberally scattered flourescent pink keys form on opener “All In” a gently crystalline wave of shimmering gorgeousness that rides you into the madness ahead like some beautiful raft, making sense of its title as a command to hop on board. And well you should, for – to paraphrase The Olivia Tremor Control – it floats us to this thoughtless hour on a series of events that damn well near defy explanation.
Rocksucker will have a go, though, seeing as this is a review and all. Our first stop is “Getting There”, where Niki Randa applies her smooth vocals to syncopated thumps encrusted with jangling electronic jewellery; she revisits us later on the baroque nightmare of “Hunger”, but in the mean time we’ve the singing windscreen wipers of “Heave(n)”, the pop-click-shuffle beatery and heaving underwater bass of “Tiny Tortures”, and the funny, wibbly µ-Ziq-style melodies of “Putty Boy Strut” to take in, the latter resolving itself with a luxurious string sample.
There’s even this short film featuring music from the album
The pervading tension between the twinkling and the thudding is as utterly gripping as it was on Crewdson’s Gravity LP of last year, and the title track’s upwards-creeping bass motif is simply ace. “See Thru to U” features the softly sweet voice of Erykah Badu – uncomfortable Flaming Lips link noted – and it’s wonderfully weird stuff, Badu’s vocal parts doubling up and flying in circles around the pounding tribal drums and jazzily dissonant chords. Yet more brownie points for ending with a handclap motif, too.
The Thundercat-featuring “DMT Song” is a beautiful little lucid dream that could have been overseen by the Lips themselves, and then the discomforting, staggery-beat wilderness of “Only If You Wanna” leads us into the Thom Yorke-featuring “Electric Candyman”. Here wibbly wobbly chords twang away something splendid over a cool, strutting rhythm, before the whole thing transforms halfway through into a jazzy oddity with Yorke’s light vocables drifting ethereally around it, paving the way for Laura Darlington to help “Phantasm” sound a bit like Felt Mountain-era Goldfrapp making love to Autechre in a darkened room. Ace, ace and thrice ace!
“me Yesterday/Corded” is the album’s longest track at 4:42, as well as a being a synaesthetically delightful scramble which acquires some felty synth pads aboard its psychedelic sashay, and we are returned to reality on a rather claustrophobic note by sustained pipe organ and unsettling swirls of noise which inhabit curtain-closer “Dream to Me”.
It’s hard to believe that Until the Quiet Comes is the product of the same species and planet as One Direction, but unless Flying Lotus has something he’d like to tell us, this does indeed appear to be the case. Transportative electronic music that doesn’t require fifty listens before it makes any kind of (non)sense? Apply within.
Rocksucker says: Four and a Half Quails out of Five!
Until the Quiet Comes is out now on Warp Records. For more information, please visit flying-lotus.com