Friday, 28 September 2012
Flying Lotus- Until The Quiet Comes
One thing i like about Flying Lotus, is give a month he's the same age as me (a spritely 29 at the time of writing, hack, cough, splutter).
>walks away to get some cough syrup and returns to keyboard.. <
The less good thing i've found about 'FlyLo' as he's known in some circles, is that I have trouble listening to his albums more than twice. They've been great, taken groundbreaking strides in production and pushed the boundaries of the sonic experience, but sometimes they've just been too experimental in places to play them again (or to launch him into the mainstream). Beyond the cool gazettes that now devote half issues to his latest release, he's struggled to cross over.
However that all changed for me when I heard this album.
The opening 7 minutes are glistening and beautiful as off kilter beats merge with glacial soundscapes, ideas and foley room sounds. The makes way somewhat as the album reaches it's midway base camp and increasing elements of jazz emerge, such as on All The Secrets, which see's Lotus pull out a few of his trademark glitches. This is immediately followed by the darker 'Sultans Request', punctuated by a heavy Moog synth, on a half dubstep beat.
Erykah Badu makes a welcome entrance on See Thru To You, with the drums getting a little bit more tribal amongst a the mesh of tamborine shakers. The last 20 seconds contain a very enjoyable reveal into the title track, Flying Lotus acting as the director whilst we sit in the cinema seat.
Thom Yorke joins in the fun (sort of) as he lends some pretty far out, spooky vocals to Electric Candyman, which proceeded after a quieter moment in 'Only if You Wanna', jazzy underlays punctuating just audible vocal melodies. Another collaborator who again helps out is Laura Darlington (wife of Ninja Tune signed artist Daedelus) who featured on the table tennis song in Cosmogramma and Los Angeles on AuntiesLock.
The low-definition moments are more frequent on this album compared to others and there's a breathing space here that previous LPs have lacked resulting in a richer listening experience. The frequent chops and changes, and general metaphysicality are enough for this to be much more than a coffee table album though.
An accomplished, accessible album from Steven Ellison, who raises the bar ever higher for his contemporaries. ****
Friday, 14 September 2012
Substantial- Home Is Where The Art Is
Produced primarily by Oddisee whose album 'People Hear What They See' was released just 3 months ago , the new album from Maryland MC Substantial, 'Home Is Where The Art Is' makes all the right sounds. In the usual Oddisee way, we have some great crate digging yet again with soulful samples galore.
Lyrically on point this is a grounded album concerned with community and its state of affairs whilst eschewing the materialism that seems prevalent in some rap circles. Perfect for the Autumn and changing seasons, you get the impression that he's appreciating life more too, with the album ending with the sung lyric 'i'm so grateful'.
"1990s boom-bap, soulful instrumentals, and furious record scratches" - The Washington City Paper
Listen to the album here: BristolFunk- Approved Albums of 2012