Flying Lotus – Until The Quiet Comes

With the release of ‘Cosmogramma’ in 2012, some critics speculated as to whether Steven Ellison had left himself space for improvement. Putting it in video game terms – it’s like Flying Lotus had already completed the game, but trying again with ‘Until The Quiet Comes’, he  has found a bonus level with an abundance of extra points.

This new album feels maturer than Flying Lotus’ previous work. In a mini documentary on ‘Until The Quiet Comes’ Ellison says “I tried to trim the fat in a lot of instances… it was kind of a challenge for me to pull back and strip things down, and at the same time I think it makes the most sense.” Take “Tiny Tortures” – a light smattering of percussion combined with a simple melody which changes in tune just enough to keep it from being repetitive. Or, the title track. This song massages your eardrums with its steady jazz tempo, allowing you to breathe with the music so you can feel yourself being taken somewhere without having to think about what’s happening.

It listens comfortably in one go, so much so that I often didn’t know where tracks begun or ended.  That’s excluding the sudden switch from the lovely, light, jazz infused piano of “All The Secrets” to the low synth-y intro of “Sultan’s Request” – which may be the only jolt on the record. There is another obvious skip after that into “Putty Boy Strut” which sounds so teasingly like a well-executed game of Space Invaders that in comparison to some of the fluid, peaceful arrangements in other parts of the album, it transports you to a completely different location. This is a nice contrast with the bass-y end of “Sultan’s Request”, which is clearly going to be a popular live track for Flying Lotus fans.

One thing that this album affirms is that Flying Lotus knows how to collaborate. On ‘Cosmogramma’, “Mmm Hmm feat. Thundercat” stood out as soulful; with a beat that verges on hotel-lobby jazz, Ellison dances gracefully underneath Thundercat’s oozing vocals. Ellison does not deny us that pleasure and, once again, we hear Flying Lotus complement Thundercat’s vocals even more pleasurably with complex electronic production and echo.

“Until The Quiet Comes” is an exciting new listen. It has honed much of the experimental soundscape that Flying Lotus is so used to playing with Ellison succeeding in trimming any remaining fat. The album works swimmingly as a unified piece of music and it oozes an aquatic ambiance, whilst still retaining that lunar quality from the last time. There are songs which relax, comfort, intrigue and tingle.