Flying Lotus is other-worldly with ‘Until the Quiet

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The new record from Flying Lotus (FlyLo), the upcoming master of experimental electronica, is so fiercely anticipated that it has leaked before its release date. Numerous sources (including NPR) have allowed the public to take a listen to FlyLo’s new album more than a week ahead of its release. Here is a sneak peek at “Until the Quiet Comes.”

Unlike his last work, “Cosmogramma,” the new record does not present massive and extremely vivid cascades of sounds, full of hip-hop-influenced samples and fast-paced trumpet melodies. It is not as futuristic, either, there are less of the cosmic textures. However, “Until the Quiet Comes” is much more diverse and surprising.

The first few tracks contain many child-like motifs, that slowly deepen the listener into the atmosphere of spiritual tranquility and harmony. The melodies, accompanied by discreet and soft beats, appear dreamy and light, which is interestingly underlined by the vocal part, provided by Niki Randa on “Getting There.” Looking ahead, Flying Lotus once again presents a beautiful way of using the vocal talents of the guests.

Later on, the record surprises with calm, yet gloomy and somewhat vicious structures on “Tiny Tortures.” An interesting, anxious melody, played by something that resembles a guitar or harp, goes along with various bleeps, clicks and a deep ambient texture.

After going through “Sultan’s Request,” a vivid track that reminds of “Cosmogramma’s” multilayered structures and profound use of synthesizers, the record reaches the point of playful yet meditative melodies, guided by interesting elements of percussion. Here, FlyLo’s interest in avant-garde jazz is noticeable. The subdued liquid beats are neighboring with nearly tribal-like tapping and hammering in “Until the Quiet Comes” and “See Thru to U.”

The most interesting feature of the new album is its ambiguity in composition. Overall, the record is more tranquil than Steven Ellison’s earlier works, but it is at the same time more diverse. Its tracks change abruptly, then flow into each other coherently as the album unfolds; its mood is childish at first, but becomes obscure eventually.

The conclusive part of the album is the most unusual experience of listening to “Until the Quiet Comes.” It is minimalistic and mysterious, composed of very shrilling tracks with vocals, guitars, and cosmic sound effects. It all sounds very fresh within experimental electronica. Thom Yorke’s voice sounds pleasantly unfamiliar in the mystical “Electric Candyman,” which hopelessly ends with stumbling and disorderly beats. Niki Randa’s vocals on “Hunger” are tragic and dreamy, just as the track itself, with harp arrangements, light ambient textures and a guitar: a hardly forgettable piece.

It continues with the meditative yet sorrowful “Phantasm,” sung by Laura Darlington. The last tracks may sound as an ode to utopia or anti-utopia, crying at unreachable spaces and desires or deriding the whole civilization. In this aspect, “Until the Quiet Comes” resembles the famous “Cosmogramma,” but the new record sounds more thoughtful, composed and mature.

Flying Lotus records an album that is hard to place within any genre frames, besides marking it as experimental. It contains influences from jazz, ambient, down-tempo and even hip-hop in an incredibly reasonable proportion, which possibly makes this record a breakthrough in electronic music. It might not amaze everyone, but it must not be ignored.