I guess Flying Lotus, aka Steven Ellison, has never really left. He’s just been throwing his creative fire in other directions. His last full-length LP was 2014s insane and amazing You’re Dead!. Ellison made his directorial film debut with the hallucinogenic body horror/comedy film Kuso in 2017(apparently lots of anuses in that one.) Flying Lotus is returning next month with a new album called Flamagra, and from what I’ve heard it sounds like Steven Ellison continues to evolve his music and art.
First track “Fire Is Coming” features David Lynch narrating, and the video has a holographic head of Lynch telling a bunch of feral children a story. The song is interesting, but I was a little worried when I heard it thinking this is what the album was going to sound like. Fortunately that’s not the case. The video was directed by Ellison and David Firth(Salad Fingers.)
Next up is “Spontaneous” featuring Little Dragon. It’s an upbeat, groovy track that with whatever vocal effect is being used makes the track almost sound like an Unknown Mortal Orchestra song. It has all the sonic signposts and wiggly electronics that Fly Lo is known for. Classic future funk from the master.
Last is the exquisite “Takashi”. There’s a mix of early 70s funk and soul intermingling with Ellison’s frantic electro space jazz. It’s as if a fusion band was swallowed by an AI version of Talking Book-era Stevie Wonder. There’s a lot going on here as the song morphs and evolves over several tempo changes and electronic movements.
I’ve been a fan of Flying Lotus since I first heard Until The Quiet Comes back in 2012. It’s been an absolute joy to catch up on everything I’d missed up to that point and Ellison is one of those artists that I’m always looking forward to what’s coming next. He’s not a predictable artist. He’s constantly evolving his output, whether thru music, remixes, collaborations, or extremely weird films. Some of it may go over my head at times, but I’m constantly in awe of what the guy does. Flamagra is gearing up to be one of my most anticipated albums of the year, and from the sound of it his artistic evolution continues.
Flamagra is out May 24th via Warp Records. Preorder here.