Flying Lotus (government name: Steven Ellison) is much more than just a simple beat maker. Drawing from a pool of influences that range from the likes of left-field hip hop masterminds J.Dilla and Madlib to peers like Samiyam and Gaslamp Killer out of Los Angeles’s burgeoning Low End Theory scene, the 26-year old producer has churned out an unmistakable musical identity that’s equal parts hip hop, dubstep, IDM, and more that’s earned him critical acclaim with press and fans alike – all in a relatively short amount of time.
The world had already heard plenty of Flying Lotus material way before he ever dropped a proper album – they just probably didn’t recognize it. The producer began his first serious steps in the industry by creating and licensing instrumentals for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming. Characterized by loosely unquantized rhythms and liquefied-sounding samples, his work was commonly used in the bumpers played between shows and commercial breaks. When FlyLo released his first full-length, 2006’s 1983 (Plug Research), beat enthusiasts everywhere immediately took notice.
He followed that up with a six-song EP called Reset on Warp Records, which hinted at the sound and style he would bring to the table on 2008’s Los Angeles LP, which featured glitched out drum loops, wobbly basslines, and a sonic collage that was at once both chilled out and driving.
His latest effort, this year’s Cosmogramma, represents the next step in FlyLo’s evolution as an electronic musician/composer. The album features more live instrumentation (including horns, strings, and bass – courtesy of Sa-Ra musician Thundercat and Outkast/Erykah Badu string arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson), as well as a collaboration with Radiohead vocalist Thom Yorke. As Flying Lotus continues to push the boundaries of what can be done with electronic/hip hop music (both in the studio and onstage with a laptop), the young artist has definitely proven himself to be someone to watch out for in the future.
– by SeanDammit