Flying Lotus: Los Angeles
Warp Records, 2008
Somehow I missed out on the first couple of Flying Lotus releases, but Los Angeles is a whole lot of fun. This is instrumental hip-hop similar in spirit to Dilla, Dabrye, and Prefuse 73. Constant experimentation staves off any possibility of boredom. “Breathe . Something/Stellar STar” is a dense cluster of samples over distressed beats and a dynamic, electronic bassline. “Beginners Falafal” bristles with loudly compressed digital elements and magical sweeps of spacey sound. It stops short, running up against the exotic percussion of “Camel.” Vocal samples are masterfully warped into the mix. “Comet Course” is yet another highlight, with thrusting beats and a sample about “peace and love.”
The bassline of “Riot” is very Dabrye-like. Samples of a numbers station and “Thriller” seem slightly out of place. “GNG BNG” sounds like ESG or some other psychedelic garage band (recreated with DSP). “Parisian Goldfish” has a tasty melody and weird beats. Wrapping up the album, “RobertaFlack,” featuring Dolly, is sweet and jazzy. Gonja Sufi contributes eccentric vocals to “Testament,” then Laura Darlington sings soothing tones on “Auntie’s Lock.”
These days there are too few albums in this style. Many of my favorite producers began to water down their beats for easier rapping, or they started turning up between late-night cartoons. I haven’t picked up a Ninja Tune album in years. I hope Flying Lotus continues his experiments. I can already tell I’ll be giving these tracks plenty of spins.