Flying Lotus

You’re Dead!

Warp • 2014

That’s latency for you. Feel safe all you want – things will catch up, eventually. You might try to escape from where you’re coming from, but in the end, your roots will always surface. With Steven Ellison a.k.a. Flying Lotus it might not be quite as dramatic; there is, however, a growing tendency towards jazz to be heard in his music. In his case, this also means having to face his family’s history. When he was younger, the grandnephew of Alice Coltrane had learned how to play the saxophone until the whole jazz-relation became a bit too much for him. No wonder that he started to make music on his computer, considering that his great-aunt was a famous free-jazz pianist, married to John Coltrane. Of course, Steven Ellison has used jazzy elements in his own productions since »Cosmogramma« but they used to be more of a side-kick in his hybrid growths. However, on »You’re Dead!«, Flying Lotus’s fifth record, the jazzy roots are not only hidden in the lyrics – they’re also central to its general mood and grooviness. Of course, the corner stones of his style are still built on hip hop, and the tracks supported by stars like Snoop Dogg or Kendrick Lamar are some of the record’s highlights. But this time, they appear like little islands in a large sized jazz-suite, floating in easy-goingness and dreaminess. The only threatening bit on the journey to the other side is its intro with its rumbling strings. Then, colleagues like bass-player Thundercat take the stage, combining hecticness and calmness between Flying Lotus’s usual shuffling beats. Steven Ellison manages to keep developing while remaining recognizable. Latency or not.