Born in Los Angeles, California, Steven Ellison took on the name Flying Lotus, shortened to Flylo by fans, in 2006 with the release of his first studio album, 1983. He released his sophomore album, Los Angeles, in 2010, and two years after that his critically acclaimed masterpiece, Cosmogramma, was released. The music world knew Ellison was talented, but after Cosmogramma the world knew he was special, that he was the beginning of a renaissance. His jazz influence and use of instruments along with his ability to completely unique sounds create an emotional adventure, allowing the listener to journey alongside Flying Lotus. The album twists and turns and at times is difficult for your ears to process, but it always continues on the same path. In 2012, Ellison released his most recent album, Until the Quiet Comes. This time around he went for a more innocent, ambient approach. There’s calmness to this album you can’t find in much of his earlier work. His fifth studio album is due to be released sometime in 2014, but if you need more Flylo, he has released tracks for Mac Miller and Adult Swim on Cartoon Network among others over the years.
After listening to just one of Flying Lotus’ songs, it becomes instantly clear that his sound is unlike any other, and when listening further, that no two tracks sound even remotely similar. Yet, when you hear a Flylo song, you know it is a Flylo song. There is something about the way each one contains a seamless background movement or flow that is then somehow uninterrupted by the chaos that occurs above it that makes each Flying Lotus track belong to the same book but still have their own chapters.
What’s most interesting about Flylo is that his live shows are nothing like the music he releases. They’re upbeat, bass heavy, head banging sets that have the whole crowd going wild. “Hard in the Paint”, as well as songs from TNGHT, Hudson Mohawk, and Tyler are staples in his shows, ending each one with a level of energy that radiates for hours after it’s over. He has a presence, and toothy smile, that you can’t keep your eyes off, and now, instead of a light show, he has his layer 3 set. It creates a relationship between time, space, music, and visualization where Flying Lotus appears in between two screens that ooze light and color all around him. Layer 3 transports fans to wherever Lotus wants them to go.
Written By: Rachel Oldham
Genre: Experimental Electronic
Label: Warp, Brainfeeder