Review: Flying Lotus “You’re Dead”

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At the start of this month experimental/avant-garde/hip-hop beat maker Flying Lotus (FlyLo) released his 5th album “You’re Dead” via Warp (Aphex Twin, Hudson Mohawke, Mount Kimbie etc) I first heard about the album at the end of last year when he said he was going to be releasing a full Jazz album with Herbie Hancock! Something my friend Joe and I have wanted for a long time, just to see what it would sound like. Then through out the year this idea had changed to FlyLo releasing a new album, but not it not being fully Jazz, I was a bit annoyed, but still excited to hear it. I’ve always been a fan of an artists progression and FlyLo’s is amazing, from the more hip hop based stuff I first heard back in 2008 with his “Reset” EP and then his LP “Los Angeles” It was all so new to anything else I was listening to at the time, so I just loved it straight away! Then he just continued to grow and experiment to the more Experimental/Electronic fusion of “Cosmogramma” (Which won Gilles Peterson’s album of the year at his World Wide Awards in 2011) then to 2012’s nu jazz, almost cinematic album “Until The Quite Comes” and now to the mental Jazz fusion of “You’re Dead” he’s just always pushing boundaries of his music. “You’re Dead” features guests old and new from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Thundercat, Angel Deradoorian, Niki Randa, Captain Murphy (FlyLo’s alter ego) and Herbie Hancock!

“You’re Dead” starts with opener “Theme” a quick bell filled rise which Jazzy guitar, drum and saxophone breaks. “Tesla” storms in it’s the first track with Herbie Hancock on its full of more Jazzy guitars and synths with really fast drumming. “Cold Dead” is next, and starts off extremely rocky with a an electric guitar in your face. Then these lovely drums and saxophones come in and make it magical like you’re drifting though the Jazzosphere (not a word, it should be). Then after that is “Fkn Dead” a 40 second track just full of this electronic guitar. “Never Catch Me” featuring Kendrick Lamar is next, it’s a jazzy, hip-hop, piano, drum, synth filled jam, with Kendrick’s flow matching the beat and groove perfectly it’s so on point. After is “Dead Man’s Tetris”featuring Snoop Dogg and Captain Murphy it’s an 8 bit filled track which sounds like it was made for an arcade game and its really beat heavy. “Turkey Dog Coma” gets you back into this insanely fast rhythms and it just gets faster but then breaks into this slow harp/guitar groove and then back into these lovely saxophone and drums to end on. “Stirring” is another short track at 31 seconds its just packed with harps and synth’s. “Coronus, the Terminator” is defiantly the most hip-hop sounding track its basically a smokey psychedelic journey. “Siren Song” featuring Angel Deradoorian flows in after takes things into this slow quiet guitar, bell and symbol filled space. with Angel just oohing and awing though out. “Turtles” is another psychedelic trip packed with peaceful chimes and bird sounds and amazing percussion which just flows throughout the track. After is “Ready Err Not” is a blippy (not a word) almost underwater computer sounding track. “Eyes Above” kicks off with these crashing symbols and drums which continue to grow. “Moment Of Hesitation” the next track featuring Herbie Hancock its a jazzy saxophone, key, guitar filled track with more crashing symbols and drums. “Descent Into Madness” featuring Thundercat pushes in after. It starts with Thundercat’s vocals taking you into this descent which then just flows into the next track “The Boys Who Died In Their Sleep” featuring FlyLo’s alter ego Captain Murphy again. Its real nice change in the album its a almost spoken word track, with elements just quietly sitting in the background not making a full appearance. “Obligatory Cadence” is a spooky drum, string, synth filled hip-hop beat. “Your Potential/The Beyond” featuring Niki Randa comes after it’s another space age jazz hip-hop track which just slowly echo’s though until the last track “The Protest” is a lovely dense piano, string filled piece with lots drums and classic FlyLo beat making. It makes you excited for what is next for the brilliant producer.

“You’re Dead” even though it wasn’t the full jazz album that I was hoping for its still another amazing album. Full of amazing production, arrangements and instruments its just takes you on this jazzy space age journey for 39 minutes and you just want to keep on going back again and again. I think it’s my favourite FlyLo release now.

4.4/5

Key Tracks: “Coronus, the Terminator” “Turtles” “Moment Of Hesitation” and “The Protest”

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