Flying Lotus releases mind-blowing fifth studio album

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Album cover via Google.

Review Rating: 5/5 Stars

Flying Lotus is the alias of Los Angeles based producer and rapper, Steven Ellison. Nicknamed “Flylo” by his fans and avid listeners, Ellison produces a mixture of experimental hip hop and electronic beats mashed up together.

His tracks are very notable for having jazz influence (his great-aunt was the late Jazz pianist Alice Coltrane), and his unique combination of claps and bass wobbles creates his signature style most people are accustomed to hearing.

Though many of his tracks are influenced by personal psychedelic experiences, his use of themes and concepts in his albums play a key role in bringing it all together.

Ellison has featured many of his beats on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, and received his big break after regularly performing at the nightclub, Low End Theory in Lincoln Heights.

Today, Ellison has quickly emerged into one of the biggest underground producers of the last decade, performing at numerous music festivals such as Coachella Valley Music and Art’s Festival, FYF Fest, and Pitchfork Music Festival.

Ellison has also collaborated with notable musicians such as Radiohead’s front man Thom Yorke, rapper Viktor Vaughn (aka MF Doom), and singer Erykah Badu.

With five albums now under his belt, Ellison is poised to continue his success and showed it with the release of his fifth album, “You’re Dead!”.

“You’re Dead!” was released on Oct. 7 and was given the title of “Best New Music” by Pitchfork Media. It is the follow up album to Ellison’s last release “Until the Quiet Comes”, which was released in the fall of 2012 [roughly around the same time as this year’s “You’re Dead!” release].

Ellison hosted a listening party for the album on Sept. 23, allowing fans to hear the album in its entirety live.

The album itself is phenomenal, as it not only features the signature “Flylo sound” fans are accustomed to hearing, but is also heavily influenced by Jazz.

The first four tracks on the album (“Theme”, “Tesla”, “Cold Dead”, and “Fkn Dead”) are very “trippy”, fast pace Jazz sounds with a great overload of guitar, piano, bass, drum beats and saxophone.

The album contains huge guest appearances by artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Jazz artist Herbie Hancock, Snoop Dogg, and Ellison’s rap alter ego, Captain Murphy.

The best track on the album definitely has to be Ellison’s collaboration with Lamar on, “Never Catch Me”. The track features a slow “jazzy” approach by Ellison, with Lamar rapping fast pace about the concept of death.

“I can see the darkness in me and it’s quite amazing/Life and death is no mystery and I wanna taste it”, opens up Lamar on the track.

The track was the first single off “You’re Dead!” and is a perfect collaboration between a mainstream rapper like Lamar and an underground producer like Ellison.

The other single off the album, “Coronus, the Terminator” is terrific and brings out Ellison’s signature style, creating a bass-booming instrumental track.

Ellison’s track “Dead Man’s Tetris” (with his alter-ego, Captain Murphy and rap legend, Snoop Dogg) is another well put together track containing a “trap-esque” beat and the catchy opening verse by Ellison, “Hold up, hold up, I bet you thinking that we dead/Hold up, hold up, I have this bullet in my head.”

Overall the albums tracks perfectly correlate with each other and the death theme of the album.

Despite the first four tracks sounding very similar and being very short in regards to the length of the song, the album is still a perfect album having very little flaws.

The artwork to the album also coincides with the theme of death as it features “tripped out” designs, a portrait of Ellison with a hole in his face and his body veins showing as he holds his hands up gracefully with death bodies and skeletons around him, all created by Japanese guro manga artist Shintaro Kago.

Clearly the overall message of death is on display visually, lyrically, and instrumentally.

“You’re Dead!” is definitely one of Ellison’s best albums to date and will be highly talked within the next few months.

We can only hope that Ellison continues to progress and perhaps give fans more amazing albums in the future.

You can stream “You’re Dead!” on Spotify for free or purchase the album for $12 via Walmart.

Flying Lotus will also be performing at The Wiltern in Hollywood on Nov. 15. Tickets are $34 via http://www.livenation.com/.

Music video for “Never Catch Me” featuring Kendrick Lamar via VEVO