Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Flying Lotus

Andy Beta has a great interview with Stephen Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, up on his blog. I just got the new Lotus album Cosmogramma yesterday and have only managed to listen to it once, but on first impression it's one of a handful of amazing things I've heard so far in 2010*. The impression that I'd gotten from various reviews was that the album was overstuffed, dense, wearying--but I found it to be more spacey (Ellison has called it a "space opera") and airy than his previous album, Los Angeles. There's a '70s spiritual jazz quality to it that distinguishes it from the Dilla-esque beat density of Los Angeles (which is a great album too; I'm just surprised at the critical angle on Cosmogramma); it's more contemplative and introspective, and the Alice Coltrane connection that Beta delves into is abundantly evident.

I don't want to overstate the album's breezy qualities: the music is still heavily layered with lots of synth and cascades of processed beats; at times it reminded me a little of Aphex Twin's post-ambient stuff, though searching where Aphex is ironic. I wasn't surprised to read Ellison's response to a question about what Warp Records stuff he liked before they signed him: "I'd always loved the Broadcast stuff and obviously Aphex Twin, Squarepusher." The whole interview is good, especially if you're an Alice Coltrane fan.

*I've got a post listing everything I've liked so far this year (not necessarily from 2010) languishing in my drafts; it was originally called Quarterly Report, so maybe I'll end up doing a first half of 2010 list in June instead.

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