Flying Lotus



by SubtleDagger USER (35 Reviews)
November 15th, 2006 | 9 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Music featured for television programming that is perhaps too programmed itself.

Flying Lotus is the pseudonym of Steven Ellison, who has done composition for Adult Swim, a program on Cartoon Network. Hearing his work, what many are calling "instrumental hip-hop", that isn't hard to imagine; this is the type of music you would hear running behind Adult Swim's white-text-on-black-screen adverts, reminding you it's the middle of the night and you're lucky you're not stuck in an elevator or watching the Weather Channel. Maybe that assessment is a bit harsh, but that's the typical taste Flying Lotus leaves in my mouth: the repeating melodies running over the repeated beats are pleasant enough, but when I get bored of it a minute into a song it becomes obvious that this sort of thing isn't for me.

And to be honest, "electronica" has never done it for me (I quote because most fans of this style of music see the term as a ridiculous catch-all misnomer). Sure, a lot of people will call and are calling this stuff "instrumental hip-hop", but to be honest, a lot of hip-hop is simple electronic dance music sans vocals. In actuality, this doesn't even remind me of hip-hop instrumentalism; even without vocals, hip-hop beats tend to change constantly. I'll admit wholeheartedly that I find most hip-hop instrumentation amusing or at least interesting.

But I don't find Flying Lotus that interesting simply because Ellison does what so many other loop-crunchers and sample-shifters do in his field: they take a simple beat, add a sample and proceed making extremely minor changes to the formula for minutes at a time before (usually) having the whole thing blow up. This has never been that exciting to me, mainly because all those minor changes (which are slow to come about anyway) don't change the fact that the same exact beat is going for three to five minutes at a time. That is what makes or breaks electronic music for me, what decides if it is moving or emotionless.

Admittedly, most tracks on here are pleasant enough, they just don't do much of anything. Ellison apparently has a passion for phasers and flangers with his samples, and these are put to great effect in most tracks, most notably the latter half of the record in "Pet Monster Shotglass" and "Untitled #7". The big track is the last: with Laura Darlington giving a beautiful performance over the steady beats, it actually feels a bit emotionally resonant. Despite that, none of these plusses are enough to overcome mediocrity on Flying Lotus's 1983 for me. It has been suggested that perhaps I just don't understand this sort of music or that I expect too much of it, but I beg to differ. All I ever expect from music is to hold my interest in one way or another, and 1983 can't do that.

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user ratings (394)
other reviews of this album
jtswope (3)
1983 feels rushed and unbalanced, yet it showcases many of Flying Lotus's abilities as an emerging p...

pixiesfanyo (4.5)
"1983" is a subtle electronic masterpiece....

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 15th 2006


Great review, I wouldn't want to be the one to review this one.

November 15th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

Jared's going to rate it much much higher

This is the first one we've really disagreed on

November 15th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

I kinda like this album, but I like the review more.

I agree about the fact that he brings nothing new to the table, but at least he's not simply ripping off, his music has a certain originality to it. This Message Edited On 11.15.06

November 20th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Its a great album to chill to.

December 20th 2006


This album is okay. Nothing is really that interesting and the beats are too choppy to not be annoying.

Apocalyptic Raids
September 9th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

i agree with the eliminator

September 13th 2007


it gets a little repetitive but its cool in the background. not something you really listen to by itself.

August 15th 2008


Album Rating: 3.0

i enjoy this album to some extent. but with the exception of a few songs, i also mainly think of it as background music.This Message Edited On 08.14.08

May 24th 2009


Album Rating: 5.0

eliminator is wrong

it's groove but it's faster, feel the sextuplets

it's like parliament except with fleshy mind messes flaying around,

the crunchiness of the compression tomfoolery is super unique

i hope this flavor gets passed around, you know the guys like ras g samiyam and such

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