Sunday, September 30, 2012

flying lotus: until the quiet comes (warp)

Listen again to the opening seconds of Cosmogramma. Now do the same with “All In,” the opening track of Until the Quiet Comes, Steven Ellison’s fourth record now as Flying Lotus. Everything you need to know about the difference between these two records is contained there, each album’s essence potently distilled. If you like what you hear in the latter case, well then good for you. But if you don’t mind, I’m going to reserve my right to be seriously disappointed.

Because Until the Quiet Comes is the negation of everything that made Cosmogramma great. It is relentlessly beige. It is “mature.” It is a chai latte. It is loungetronica. It is David Sanborn. It is Nora Jones. It is über proficient. It is no longer the sound of the future. In its obstinate blandness, it is a surprisingly arduous listen even though it only lasts 45 minutes. It is coming straight from Warp to a cocktail bar near you and, soon after that, a Starbucks. It is the sound of an artist in retreat from the shadow of his own success.

What’s more, Ellison knows all of this. Because that was exactly his intention. Here he is in an interview with Britt Brown in the most recent issue of The Wire: “I like the idea of pulling back,” he says. “I made this really grandiose kind of statement, now I wanted to make this quiet statement, trim all the fat and just get a small, tight story out of it, instead of trying to tell the story of the birth of the universe.”

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