I briefly met Flying Lotus in Chicago earlier this year. It was a summer night and he was standing outside a warehouse where a party for his Brainfeeder label had just been shut down by the cops. Would-be party-goers milled around, nervously asking each other for alternative ways to spend the evening. Meanwhile, Flying Lotus, the cosmic hip-hop shaman who counts jazz master John Coltrane as a relative, was frustrated. He stood brooding over his phone, breaking his silence only to pick that our accents were from Melbourne (he’s good). More than anyone else, he was upset that the music had stopped—that the sounds that flow in his blood had been turned off. I got the sense then, as I do when listening to his music, that this stuff has a deeper meaning than some bleeps and clicks, deeper than a club banger or a soundtrack to some stoner’s bong rip. Like the jazz masters before him, this stuff has soul.
The “Until The Quiet Comes” short film, directed by Kahlil Joseph, finds this soul within the dazzling technicolour wonderland of FlyLo’s beats and brings it to the forefront. Ostensibly, it’s a preview trailer for the upcoming Until The Quiet Comes album, featuring snippets from new tracks, but it stands as a worthy short its own right.
It’s elegantly shot, and more than a little cryptic. There are overtones of innocence lost, tragic violence, and folk spirituality, magical realism on a warm Los Angeles evening. A dead man in a ‘J Dilla Saved My Life’ t-shirt comes back to life and does a possessed voodoo dance into a lowrider—is there a better representation of the Flying Lotus sound?
The new tracks featured in the short hang onto the loose groove of the album’s first released single, “See Thru To You” (feat. Erykah Badu). It’s a groove that as much in common with psychedelic R&B and soul as with the latest Rick Ross single. If Flying Lotus is reaching for something beyond hip-hop, this short is probably the best evidence yet.
The Until The Quiet Comes album is out October 2nd, and I for one am excited.
REVIEW BY MATT NIELSON