After five years of absence, Steven Ellison, better known as Flying Lotus or FlyLo, returns with the 6th album, out on the well-respected Warp Records. Blending downtempo rhythms with hip-hop lyrics, the double LP evolves sonically on no less than 27 tracks. Sometimes instrumental and sometimes featuring guests such as Little Dragon, George Clinton, Solange, Shabazz Palaces or even David Lynch, the album is truly diverse.
FlyLo, grand-nephew of the late jazz pianist Alice Coltrane and owner of Brainfeeder label, draws heavy influences from jazz and funk as well as from wonky and IDM in an album which can be played in virtually any setting, ranging from headphones to big sound systems.
The production is diverse and brings so much diversity with samples based on old records, acoustic instruments such as violins, pianos and spaced-out drums which are not always perfectly synchronised, using the same technique as in progressive or nu-jazz. Nice touch on ”Pygmy” when you hear some birds on the background, as the artist also used field-recordings.
Lo-fi and warm with a clear message, as on the chill-out Thank u Malcom, the album is sound pretty experimental, showcasing the vast musical experience of Flying Lotus. Except for the classical hip-hop tracks, "Flamagra" may seem as a collection of sketches which are no longer than two minutes, coming directly from the artist's studio, with short interventions.
The overall feeling that this double LP implies is of joyful sound experimentation, sometimes breaking the barriers of traditional hip-hop and at all times bringing a sentiment of tranquility, because the message is subtle and very contemporary to the state of things of today's music, in which artists copy each other.. without even noticing or consciently realising it.