By Kale Knox
Aldous Huxley, the famed writer of the futuristic nightmare blueprint you are now living called A Brave New World, once said “After silence that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.” Being his powers of prophecy were so in tuned with our state and times, I’m going to have to say that on the subject of that statement, he was referring to Flying Lotus’ new collection named Until the Quiet Comes.
To understand an artist’s evolution one should consider the journey in which it took for them to get there, and most Flying Lotus fans have come to expect excellence in his work as well as his collaborators. Though with this piece, I feel he jumped off the boat of going to the next level, walked behind the set to the secret door that leads to Bowser’s Castle and bitched slapped him to death. This album is at it’s exact point in space and time with accordance to relevance, composition, aesthetic, and orchestration that it needs to be – in other words, it is an absolute masterpiece.
The album begins with the track “All In” with a lead in gyration setting the listener up to be brought into the world of sounds and musical scenery which is Until the Quiet Comes. To call it future jazz is probably the most accurate description, but is still limiting if only for the reason that defining music with genres contrives it. The colors and melodies accent even the most passionate of love making sessions, and the nuance upon the musical progressions is seamless to the point, that by the time the single “Putty Boy Strut” comes on, the listener won’t be able to realize that they have just traveled threw 7 tracks.
Erykah Badu lends her vocals to the birth of the cool laden “See Thru to U” as the now gaining voice Thundercat shreds bass jazz style throughout, as well as the next few tracks, which I found to be my favorite part of the album.
The title track comes on with hand clapping, in which persists underneath the melody, as Thundercat bass mastery, smooth organ and electronic noise accent creates a whimsical yet surreal composition, twisting the music in and out of different moods like a bipolar tornado, which lands right into my favorite track on the album “DMT Song”. Although it splits the album in half and is a minute and some long, it is the only song where vocals are the most dominant instrument. The mood it creates is major and unique to the point of separating itself from the rest of the album, which sends chills down ones spine with it’s mysterious optimism.
The track “The Nightcaller” is next, which rides the same motif with a higher BPM. The bass sits out in front pulling the melody accented by doo-wops and theramin style synth parts, ending the progression abruptly at 2:20 with a funky, wavering slow dance beat right out of left field, ending the track in a dissonance.
With the mood shifted from the climactic ending of previous track, “Only If You Wanna” cools off the listener and throws them a towel to wipe the music sex residue off their faces, and have a cigarette.
As “Electric Candyman” comes on with slow minor bass builds and polyrhythmic aboriginal drum syncopation, Thom Yorke of Radiohead fame lends his vocals in an unfamiliar Thom Yorkish manner. It is very breathy and low pitched, as is the next song featuring the vocals of Niki Randa along with more bass guitar surgery by Thundercat, until about 2:20 where it turns into a classical progression with the introduction of a or piano, a harpsichord and what I assume is cello and violin.
After that the track 16 Phantgasm comes atonally shrieking, then builds to a beautiful melody of female vocals compliments of Laura Darlington. Once again, we shift gears into the whimsical realm where the melodies swell and build exponentially with every second, which one will find is the overall motif of this album, until the quiet comes haha “get it?”. The next track keeps the feel going with slow “future jazz” as stated earlier, until around 2:20 again where it blows up with a flashy future funk, synth driven dance beat, accompanied with soft vocals and hip hop beats, and of course Thundercat lending his fingers to the sensual seduction via bass guitar.
Last, but god willing, not the least, “Dream to Me”, winds us down with the sounds of a futuristic oceanscape and then finally, the quiet did come as the album meets resolution.
The conclusion I have come to is this album is an amazing piece of music in the electronic catalog, and is one of the best releases of the year as far as prowess and composition, and there has been many a great release this year. All that I can hope is that this album doesn’t stunt FlyLo’s “Flying Lotus” progression as an artist and he keeps building his concepts and musical repertoire exponentially with each release.