Known for the riotous mix of sounds and genres that make up his beautifully chaotic sonic world, Flying Lotus does not disappoint with new album ‘You’re Dead!’ Masterfully interweaving many different influences – everything from jazz to psychedelia to electronica to hip hop – Lotus has created an album that truly immerses the listener in its world.
Heavily influenced by the artist’s personal experiences, the album explores the transition between life and death. Lotus says: “The album isn’t about the end, it’s really the beginning. It’s a celebration of the next experience. It’s the transition and the confusion. It’s not ‘hey you’re dead.’ It’s ‘hey you’re dead!’”. The celebration of transition and confusion is a clear theme, both within individual tracks and the album as a whole.
Moments of frantic jazz on tracks like ‘Cold Dead’, with stunning contributions from jazz legend Herbie Hancock, often display peaks in this feeling of confusion and emotion. But there are also tracks in which the jazz influence is more hidden; ‘Never Catch Me’, on which Kendrick Lamar raps ‘I can see the darkness in me and it’s quite amazing/life and death is no mystery and I wanna taste it’ provides both lyrical and sonic clarity amongst the (quite brilliant) pandemonium of other tracks. The perfect fusion of hip hop with subtle jazz elements makes this the strongest stand-alone track of the album.
Snoop Dog and Captain Murphy (Lotus’ rap alter ego) collaborate on the track ‘Dead Man’s Tetris’ and this is the closest the album comes to straight-up hip hop, but it still has the wonderfully weird and innovative elements that make this album such an exciting and enjoyable listen.
The celebration of death and spirituality are also portrayed beautifully on more melancholy tracks; ‘Coronus, the Terminator’, despite its ominous title, is an oddly comforting song. The choral style vocals, used to great effect here and throughout the rest of the album, make the track sound like a kind of psychedelic hymn. On ‘Descent Into Madness’, a track reminiscent of Kate Bush at her weirdest and most inventive, the use of resonating and, again, choric vocals combined with relatively simple instrumentation brings an eerie calm that draws the album’s journey towards its conclusion.
Final song ‘The Protest’ builds from a recurring chant of ‘we will live on forever’ backed by melancholic string and piano, into an undulating electronic beat, finishing with a tranquil fade out.
‘You’re Dead!’ is an album of impressive vision, and is fantastically cohesive given the scale of the subject matter. Lotus’ distinctive sound is enriched, but never overshadowed, by a host of notable contributors; this is definitely some of the most exciting and innovative electronic music around.
Flying Lotus’ album ‘You’re Dead!’ is out now and available to buy on iTunes