fri 03/04/2020

CD of the Year: Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes | reviews, news & interviews

CD of the Year: Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes

CD of the Year: Flying Lotus - Until the Quiet Comes

Psychedelic Los Angeleno creates a new kind of 21st century exotica

Until the Quiet Comes: a thrilling dream of a record

End of year lists are, of course, wildly arbitrary – based on what raddled writers can scrape from their memory-barrels come deadline day, with half an eye on what we think our colleagues are going to pick so our choices will end up in aggregated lists too.

End of year lists are, of course, wildly arbitrary – based on what raddled writers can scrape from their memory-barrels come deadline day, with half an eye on what we think our colleagues are going to pick so our choices will end up in aggregated lists too.

I could easily find a way to argue that the rarefied ambience of Santiago Latorre was my record of the year, or sing the praises of Message To Bears's chamber music all day long. I could honestly say that I'd been playing the Jessie Ware and Norah Jones albums on repeat, or loving the off-centre electronic squonk of Mouse On Mars, just to give a few examples. But I won't. I've picked the Flying Lotus album because it leapt to mind when I was asked – and you know what? That's as good a reason as any other, and what's more it really is a great, great album.

It doesn't seem to have had quite the attention that was lavished on Steven Ellison's breakthrough album Los Angeles and his 2010 musical coming-of-age Cosmogramma – but it is easily the equal of either for me. Perhaps it's harder for listeners to pin down because it doesn't have the defined sonic identity of either of its predecessors, but that's actually to its credit – it's a burgeoning cornucopia, a dazzling fairground ride, a thrilling dream of a record that goes way, way beyond Ellison's roots in hip hop, electronica and jazz into a new kind of 21st century exotica.

Though much has been made of the album's sleepy qualities – and songs like “Phantasm” and “me Yesterday” [sic] are some of the most gorgeously hypnagogic sounds made by human hands – it's not one you can drift off to, as there'll always be a surprise around the next corner. The swooping, buzzing post-grime bass tones of “Sultan's Request” and the disco boogie of “The Nightcaller” are a reminder that nights are are full of activity as well as restfulness. It's unashamedly a drug record – after all it has a preposterous prog-soul number called “DMT Song” after one of the strongest hallucinogens in existence – but like all the greatest such music, it works AS a drug, with no need to imbibe anything else to get swept up in its currents. Megastar guests – Thom Yorke, Erykah Badu – are swept up in that current too, just extra details in an oceanic flow of sound and image that gives you something different on every listen. Unreservedly recommended, to anyone.

It's unashamedly a drug record, but like all the greatest such music, it works AS a drug

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters