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Alternatif et Indé - Released October 1, 2012 | Warp Records

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Qobuzissime - Hi-Res Audio - Sélection JAZZ NEWS
Rewarding as it was for most lovers of 1983 and Los Angeles, Cosmogramma was so complex and knotted that Steven Ellison's next step could have gone beyond the challenging and into the self-parodic. On his fourth album, Ellison not only peels away layers from his sound but organizes his tracks into a gracefully flowing sequence. The producer once again draws from numerous instrumentalists and vocalists, from Brainfeeder associates Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner and Austin Peralta to the likes of Erykah Badu and Thom Yorke. Bruner has the most presence. His tremulous basslines are on nine of the album's 18 tracks, and his spaced-out, quasi-oracular vocals poke through on occasion, such as on an 80-second track that is titled after a natural psychedelic compound and references the title of Ellison's 2010 EP. True to Flying Lotus form, Bruner's voice, as well as those of everyone else, is made to sound phantasmal rather than spotlit. While much of the material on Ellison's previous three albums came across like brief and isolated ideas with an impact unaffected by the shuffle function, the shorter pieces here act more like true connectors or proper set-ups/interludes. The 12 minutes from "See Thru to U" through "Only if You Wanna" make for the album's least divisible section. It begins with lithe and slightly unsettling pattering and closes with a futuristic, organic-synthetic jazz trio piece. Somewhere in the middle, there's "The Nightcaller," the closest the album gets to dancefloor funk like Cosmogramma's "Do the Astral Plane" -- that is, until the last minute, when the gliding/chugging beat stammers and switches to a delirious strut. For all the elegiac and turbulent moments, several tracks, including the majestically wistful "Getting There" and the cascading "Until the Colours Come," are gorgeously starry and even lullaby-like, laced with ear-perking flourishes. And then there's the alien critter voice on "Putty Boy Strut," and the bizarrely bleak and comical "Electric Candyman," featuring Yorke, which arouses some serious cognitive dissonance by provoking thoughts of Tony Todd and Beyoncé ("Say my name, say my name, say my name"). Ellison's trademarks -- skittering and rustling percussion atop slightly irregular drums that knock and thud, for instance -- factor almost as much as ever, but his slight adjustments and increased restraint make this his most accessible and creative release yet. ~ Andy Kellman

Alternatif et Indé - Released October 6, 2014 | Warp Records

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Top du mois de Jazznews
An early form of You're Dead! was the length of a double album -- a large mass of brief tracks that, for Steven Ellison, possibly signified nothing more than his fifth Flying Lotus album. As the producer and keyboardist spent more time absorbing and shaping the recordings, the title, initially comic in meaning, gained emotional weight while he was provoked to consider his mortality and the losses he has been dealt, including the deaths of his father and mother, his grandmother, his great aunt Alice Coltrane, and creative collaborator Austin Peralta. The completed You're Dead! consists of 19 tracks averaging two minutes in length that are intended to be heard in sequence from front to back. Its flow is even more liquid than that of Until the Quiet Comes, though the sounds are more jagged and free, with roots deeper in jazz. Ellison once again works extensively beside longtime comrades and pulls new collaborators into his sphere. All of them -- bassist and vocalist Thundercat, drummer Deantoni Parks, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, and many others worthy of mention -- help him push jazz, R&B, rap, and electronic music forward at once. Most striking and powerful of all is "Never Catch Me," easily the longest cut. An album's worth of ideas and a whirlwind guest appearance from rapper Kendrick Lamar are condensed into its four sonically rich minutes. The tone dramatically shifts with the following "Dead Man's Tetris," a sinister concoction of melodic bleeps and gunshot effects involving Ellison as Captain Murphy, and also Snoop Dogg, in which J Dilla, Freddie Mercury, and Peralta are all part of the afterlife fantasy. Previous Flying Lotus releases have their bleak and elegiac moments, but they're central here, highlighted by "Coronus, the Terminator" (an Ellison/Niki Randa duet), "Siren Song" (fronted by Dirty Projectors' Angel Deradoorian), and "Obligatory Cadence." The instrumentals range from playful, as reflected in titles like "Turkey Dog Coma" and "Turtles," to the distressed likes of "Tesla" and "Moment of Hesitation," with the latter two both anchored by Gene Coye's feverish percussion and Herbie Hancock's glimmering/flickering piano. It all plays out in a kind of elegantly careening fashion. It concludes with "The Protest," where Laura Darlington and Kimbra softly sing "We will live on forever" like a defiant mantra. Like his great aunt, and his great uncle John Coltrane, Ellison has created exceptionally progressive, stirring, and eternal art. ~ Andy Kellman

Electronic/Dance - Released May 3, 2010 | Warp Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
For 26-year-old Steve Ellison's deservedly hyped third album, Flying Lotus loosened the reins and set out to make Cosmogramma, which his label, Warp, promoted as a space opera of sorts. More of a long-playing, cohesive listen than the prior year’s excellent Los Angeles, which felt like a collection of insular, Dilla-inspired beats, Flying Lotus evolved into a forerunner of his own personal genre. On this, his most far-out release to date, he incorporates a thicker amount of live instrumentation (horns, strings, bass, guitar, and even harp) with his laptop manipulations, and branches away from hip-hop. Call it futuristic fusion, if you will, but the result is much more ahead of the curve than, say, Herbie Hancock's Future 2 Future (though it shares some similarities) and more on par with a Jaga Jazzist or a Four Tet release. That is, it's left of center. Free jazz plays a huge part, and Flylo draws deeply from his Coltrane lineage, but he also dips into past-prime electronic and dance styles. Techno, house, and drum'n'bass all take shape alongside IDM blips, dubstep, and disco strings or blaxploitation soundtrack orchestration, courtesy of OutKast and Erykah Badu arranger Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. As a mass of shape-shifting layers, the album mutates constantly throughout the tracks, in a dense soundscape that sometimes feels palpable and at other times becomes liquid, rife with bottomless possibilities. Cosmogramma is an instrumental genre-jumping journey for head-bopping intellectuals, and the meditative melodies by vocalists Thundercat, Laura Darlington, and Thom Yorke only add to the experience. ~ Jason Lymangrover

Rap/Hip-Hop - Released July 9, 2008 | Warp Records

Distinctions The Unusual Suspects
Before he started experimenting with left-field hip-hop beats and electronic samples, Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, experienced a moment of enlightenment. While filming a documentary about his great aunt/spiritual advisor Alice Coltrane and his cousin Ravi Coltrane, their cab driver asked if they were musicians. Alice responded that, in fact, the three of them were, except Steven didn't know it yet. It was a turning point, and soon after, when he viewed an ad challenging aspiring beat-makers to send in music to be used for Cartoon Network's Adult Swim bumpers, he took a chance on a whim, sent out a demo, and landed himself a paid position pumping out silky tracks for promos of his favorite shows. As an avid gamer, it was only natural that he would create downtempo Boards of Canada beats sauced with retro 8-bit bleeps and chimes, and these were a perfect fit for the Nintendo generation fan base of Adult Swim. Lotus' second full-length, Los Angeles, expands on fractured Zelda grooves, muddy bass stamps, and glitched drum loops to stir up nonintrusive computer chillout music modeled for a hip graphic designer's headphones. It could be considered headphone candy, but with the beats as liquefied and squishy as they are, headphone Slushee is more appropriate. "Golden Diva" rides the line between cold and sugary, crackling and popping like melting ice as carbonated hiss rotates in and out of the void behind unintelligible syllables diced together from stray vocal bits. In the same fashion, "GNG BNG" flips a Middle Eastern sitar groove into a mangled keyboard line slithering over a distorted rototom beat, before dropping down into "Auntie's Lock" to end the album in a quiet hush with breathy whispers over electronic piano loops. Like 2006's 1983, the patterns are subtly atmospheric and individual grooves feel tailored for the attention deficient, never lingering for very long before switching into a new tapestry. Loaded with 17 tracks, it's an entertaining and fitting addition to the Warp catalog that makes for some highly hypnotic video arcade/coffee parlor mood music. ~ Jason Lymangrover

Alternatif et Indé - Released November 15, 2019 | Warp Records


Rap/Hip-Hop - Released October 1, 2007 | Warp Records

"Ellison has collected some nice synths, and their analogue Acid squelch is all over 'Vegas Collie' and 'Spicy Sammich'."

Alternatif et Indé - Released May 24, 2019 | Warp Records


Rap/Hip-Hop - Released June 30, 2008 | Warp Records


Rap/Hip-Hop - Released November 24, 2008 | Warp Records


Alternatif et Indé - Released September 20, 2010 | Warp Records


Electronic/Dance - Released February 9, 2016 | Hollywood Records


Rap/Hip-Hop - Released August 17, 2009 | Warp Records


Alternatif et Indé - Released August 16, 2012 | Warp Records


Rap/Hip-Hop - Released February 8, 2008 | Mello Music Group


Alternatif et Indé - Released May 8, 2019 | Warp Records


Alternatif et Indé - Released April 23, 2019 | Warp Records


Alternatif et Indé - Released May 21, 2019 | Warp Records


Alternatif et Indé - Released October 7, 2015 | Warp Records


Alternatif et Indé - Released September 4, 2014 | Warp Records