Early into Flying Lotus' new album, Until the Quiet Comes
, it's clear that he's charting new territory. The complexity, of course, is still there. But the sound is more tempered, more mature, and a whole lot less "look at me." The snare drum that drives the album-opening "All In," is gripping in its minimalism, and the rolling keys and drippy chimes at the foreground are as impressive as the hip-hop breakdown that concludes the song. It's less aggressive for sure. But "All In" speaks for Until the Quiet Comes
as a whole in the way it deftly draws a line from hip-hop production to M83 to the styles of Four Tet and Nicolas Jaar. Except Flying Lotus' execution and vision outdoes them all.
The most incredible thing is the amalgamation of sound that Flying Lotus brings to the table here. The mix of hip-hop and club minimalism has already been mentioned, but there's so much more -- electro-pop, trip-hop, calypso, psychadelia, and most surprisingly jazz. Flying Lotus goes in and out of genres in a seamless three quarters of an hour -- one mood blends into another, and Until the Quiet Comes
makes a serious case for listening to albums start to finish. From the moment you press play, you've given up control; allowed yourself to be transported. The world you enter is a thick, dreamy atmosphere with a gamut of emotions to digest -- happy to sad, apathetic to enraged. And everything flows over you in one long, pleasing wave. Flying Lotus reminds us that once in awhile it's really freaking nice to sit back and let someone take us for a ride.
Even though these 18 songs drift from one to the next, they are still clearly fragments of one demented dream; aural vignettes. Even the hip-hop-leaning tracks are easily distinguishable. "Tiny Tortures" features the hip-hop drone of an Odd Future song, with the added layer of a shiny-toned, twiddling electric guitar. "Sultan's Request" employs dreadful synths, inducing claustrophobia and signifying a sort of nightmare. And then the next and maybe strongest track, "Putty Boy Strut," at first resembles a Nicki Minaj track with its incessant background claps but then builds to something relentlessly odd and catchy -- it's like the hip-hop version of Zelda.
It would take too long to recount how many different places this album goes. But the ease that Until the Quiet Comes
grips you and the calmness in which you give in to it is unparalleled. If we're going to use marijuana as a metaphor (which we should, because it'd be naive of us to assume that the majority of this album's audience won't be stoned) -- Cosmogramma
was weed paranoia, Until the Quiet Comes
is inebriated, heightened escape. Like Jesse Pinkman floating above the bed after his first dose of heroin
, but in the safest, best way possible.