By Victoria Kezra
Don’t know who Flying Lotus is? You’ve probably already heard his music without realizing it. Any good college student has spent his or her fair share of time watching the Adult Swim block on Cartoon Network, and the station often uses Flying Lotus tracks to back their abstract “bumps” seen with “Message Situation” from his Reset EP and “Zodiac Shit” from his last album, Cosmogramma.
Flying Lotus is undeniably established in his genre due to his impressive repertoire, but how does his newest album, Until the Quiet Comes, stack up against the much-praised Cosmogramma? While they are both products of the same creator, they’re so different that it’s unfair to judge them against each other. In both Cosmogramma and its predecessor Los Angeles, the songs are vibrant and quick, zipping back and forth. There’s not much empty space in the songs on those albums and Cosmogramma’s crowing moment, “Do the Astral Plane” is so dense, it’s like sitting in an incredibly funky circus.
I was shocked how stark and gentle Until the Quiet Comes seems compared to his last releases. The album makes better use of empty space than anything else in Flying Lotus’s catalogue. The first two tracks are more traditional Flying Lotus, though there’s something distinctly slower and dreamier about them. Sparkling chimes glitter throughout the tracks over pounding beats. I kept expecting there to be a cascade of sounds, but the songs remain more tempered. The foreboding, creeping “Tiny Tortures” is an album highlight with brooding instruments holding the beat down while nervous electronic pulses twitch above them. “All the Secrets” and “Sultan’s Request” keep the pattern, this time with glitchy video game-sounding noises bouncing above a sober beat.
Like on Cosmograma, Thom Yorke of Radiohead guests on a track, “Electric Candyman.” But in this incarnation, he sounds very detached from the song.
There’s a ghostly quality about the songs on Until the Quiet Comes. Aspects of the songs are floating and when vocals do appear, they’re wispy and melt easily into the music. The songs are smoother on the ears than any of his previous work and it’s clear they were meticulously produced. Fans of previous Flying Lotus albums may have to give this album a few listens to adjust to the change in sound, but it’s time well spent. It’s the ultimate chill-out album.