“The first time you listen to You’re Dead! try to clear 30+ min of your super busy and important schedule and listen to the whole ride…”
Flying Lotus (aka Steven Elllison) posted that about 2 weeks before the official release of his new album.
Two weeks afterYou’re Dead! arrived into my hands I’m posting this to all people in the world who appreciate absolutely unique, innovative and exceptional music and artistry, and are as excited as me about the creation of jazz hip-hop fusion of the highest order in 2014…
“The first and every subsequent time you listen to You’re Dead! during the rest of this lifetime, clear 38+ mins of your busy, unimportant schedule, play your vinyl or cd through a good sound system, and enjoy the wild sensory ride that this incredible musical body of work takes you on in it’s entirety from tracks 1 through to 19…”
This Flying Lotus ride takes us into the realms of death and the journey of the spirit in the afterlife. The message is clear: scary or not, death in this lifetime is coming for us all. But the spirit will live on forever after.
At different times throughout the album death is confusing, resisted, feared, wondered or laughed at, welcomed, defied, sought, accepted, surrendered to and embraced. That means sometimes this Flying Lotus ride sounds fun and playful, at other times uncomfortable, dark and chaotic.
“I can see the darkness in me and it’s quite amazing. Life and death is a mystery and I wanna taste it. Step inside my mind and you’ll find curiosity…”
(Kendrick Lamar on ‘Never Catch Me’)
“Bang bang blow your mind. Beat beat flatline. You gotta get yours, I been had mine…”
“I was live when I met you. Now it seems to upset you.”
Snoop Dogg and Captain Murphy (aka Flying Lotus) on ‘Dead Man’s Tetris’
“The days of men are coming to an end. So come with me…”
Flying Lotus on ‘Coronus The Terminator’
“Can you feel the walls are closing in? Closer to the end. Welcome to the descent. The descent, the descent, into madness. The descent…”
Thundercat on ‘Descent Into Madness’
“I know of a place inside my mind where I can fly. Take another pill. Take another pill.”
Captain Murphy on ‘The Boys Who Died In Their Sleep’
Other times the ride is soft, spacious, clear and serene. One of those is in ‘The Protest’. This track marks the end of You’re Dead! and the start of the spirits’ journey through the afterlife when they gather in clarity, a knowing, an acceptance of (and hopefully in peace) that they, their influence and their love will live on forever and ever after.
The whole wild sensory ride comes via a rich and diverse musical tapestry made up of layers upon layers of weird, wonderful and surprising sounds that very few artists in the world could successfully weave together like Flying Lotus has done with You’re Dead!. You’ll need to set aside a lot of 38+ minute sessions during your lifetime just to absorb them all.
Some layers are vocal ones inspired by the music of Queen, sung or spoken by Steven Ellison himself (some through a toy), Niki Randa, Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Angel Deradoorian, Arlene Deradoorian and Kimbra Johnson.
Others are recordings of shit-hot live instrumentation care of jazz hero Herbie Hancock on keys; Thundercat on bass and guitar, Kamasi Washington on saxophone; Brendon Small and Jeff Lynn on guitar; Gene Coye, Justin Brown, Ronald Bruner and Deantoni Parks on drums; Stephen Bruner, Brandon Coleman and Taylor Graves on keys; Laura Darlington on flute; Andres Renteria on percussion; Miguel Atwood Ferguson and Taylor Cannizzaro on strings, and Flying Lotus on keys, percussion and bass.
Finally amongst the layers are the electronic beats and other kooky sampled sounds of Flying Lotus, many of them seemingly placed in the “wrong” but in fact the perfect places.
The whole of those layers is an exceptional, innovative, quality musical creation that sounds and feels like none other in this world.
Check out some tracks from the album here via dirty, compressed mp3. My usual preachings about the importance of supporting artists financially and the evils of mp3s in the world, apply many times over with this here Flying Lotus album and it’s many beautiful nuances of sound. You’re Dead! is a ‘must-have-and-treasure-on-vinyl-or-at-least-cd’ in your collection for the rest of your lifetime, and the collection of the lucky person who gets your music collection with FlyLo included, after you’re dead. Get it from your local independent record store if you can – all good ones should have it.
Flying Lotus – ‘Dead Man’s Tetris’ (feat. Snoop Dogg & Captain Murphy)
a playful Tetris death ride, hip-hop style…
Flying Lotus – ‘Coronus The Terminator’
what I hope death sounds and feels like…
Flying Lotus – ‘Moment of Hesitation’ (feat. Herbie Hancock)
aaahhh, dear Herbie…
If when I get to the afterlife it turns out to sound like You’re Dead! does, at least my spirit will be a musically satisfied one. Won’t yours?
If it sounds different, this Flying Lotus creation has undoubtedly made a lot of people’s lives richer for the experience in this lifetime. Are you one of them?