June 4, 2010

Artist of the Day: Flying Lotus

Great nephew of Alice Coltrane, Flying Lotus (who was born Steven Ellison) made beats for the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming before releasing his debut full-length, 1983, which resembled the work of fellow avant-garde hip-hop producers Madlib, J Dilla, and Ammoncontact, on Plug Research in 2006. Following the six-song Reset EP, his second full-length, Los Angeles, was released on Warp in 2008, with the three-part L.A. EP series of remixes and additional productions trailing through the next year. Cosmogramma, the third Flying Lotus album, was issued on the same label in 2010 (Brown, 2010). 

Los Angeles resident Flying Lotus brings beats with a cinematic flare: "I see these tracks as little short films that play in my head." Flying Lotus is a free spirit: "I have this beautiful lemon tree in my backyard, and on a sunny day the light shines through. Little things like that inspire me." Flying Lotus is a Coltrane: "My greatest influences are my family, I'm lucky to have been around so many accomplished musicians." And most importantly, Flying Lotus is a visionary; get ready to meet your favorite new producer.

From note one, there is a feeling of something new and exciting at play here. Keyboards wobble and wiggle with mutated funk, skewed rhythms grind underneath, warped samples play hide-and-seek with the beat- in other words, that "next level shit" artists are always talking about? This is it.??While the title 1983 may conjure images of parachute pants and asymmetrical 'dos, the '83 Lotus envisions isn't the typical retro cheese covered by VH1 specials. This is Blade Runner, Bambaataa, the Bomb Squad, and Basquiat. This is the musical future Prince was dreamin' about- forgive us if we go astray. Just listen to "Orbit Brazil": synths float into space with melodic optimism, grimed out in a dystopian sheen. By track's end, you really feel like you're at zero gravity, peering through your space mask at the sweaty Brasilian booties bumpin' (it's cause they're listening to Lotus).??And yeah, Lotus is a part of the Coltrane lineage, but don't write this off as nepotism, cause he ain't riding on anyone's coattails. But, if you really MUST make the correlation between A Love Supreme and A Lotus Supreme, dig: If Alice and John had lived in the era of SP-303s and laptops, they'd be flirting with the same muse as Lotus is.??Flying Lotus IS a visionary. He is tapping that well of creative juice that seems to float in the ether for certain artists every generation, carving his own path through the wilds of the beat. By the time you read this, Lotus will already be making the music everyone and their robot will be biting through 2030. Like most natural talents, though, Lotus' aspirations are simple: "I just want to keep having fun" (Vibra Online, 2007).

You can listen to Flying Lotus' music at:

Released Albums:
Flying Lotus - 1983
Flying Lotus - Reset Ep
Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
Flying Lotus - L.A. Ep 1 x 3
Flying Lotus - L.A. Ep 2 x 3
Flying Lotus - L.A. Ep 3 x 3
Flying Lotus - Black Fist
Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma

(2007). Flying Lotus. Vibra Online. Retrieved from http://www.vibraonline.com/genres/beats/flying-lotus.html
Brown, M. (2010). Flying Lotus. All Music. Retrieved from http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll

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