Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! (Warp Records)
LP / CD / DL
The genius who is Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, has a new album out. And, somewhat predictably, it’s another utter and perfect treat.
Before you listen to Flying Lotus’ latest album you really should leave all preconceptions at the door. Despite the negative connotations of the albums title, You’re Dead! is a joyous affair. It is an album that is warm, exhilarating, and incredibly uplifting and it is his greatest album to date.
Throughout his career, Flying Lotus (real name Stephen Ellison) has ploughed an independent and idiosyncratic furrow making music that drew on familiar genres from the past to create a soundtrack to the future and whilst You’re Dead contains his usual touchstones (free-jazz, hip-hop, funk) it also contains traces of Eastern and African music and religious themes adding a lightness that was not there on 2012s good but dense Until The Quiet Comes.
The theme of the album is the afterlife, not necessarily heaven but the space in between this life and the one that comes next and as such the album swings into life with sensational chaos, a complete sensory overload that swarms around your ears and creates extreme disorientation. Snare drums snap and random instrumentation fades in and out with each track segueing into the next beautifully. Not a single second of You’re Dead! feels wasted and you never once find yourself wishing for one a section to end and another to begin.
When it comes to the guest appearances on here, FlyLo continues his rich run of form with Angel Deradoorian, Thundercat, Snoop Dog (providing some of the best verses he has done for a long time) Kendrick Lemar, and jazz legend Herbie Hancock. It is the inclusion of Hancock that adds some extra gravitas to the album as it feels like a passing of the torch from one musical icon to a future one.
You’re Dead! takes all the best pieces of FlyLo’s oeuvre and creates an album that is a psychotropic delight, a journey into the unknown which starts in chaos but ends gently sending us off into the forever.
A defining statement by one of the most exciting producers in modern music.