Published Dec 09, 2014
3. Flying Lotus
It took a man armed with a laptop to bring jazz back to the forefront of music. On You're Dead!, the latest studio album from future jazz legend Steven Ellison (more commonly known as Flying Lotus), the sumptuous sounds and spirituality of Miles Davis's Bitches Brew bash headfirst into Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, with both influences being left for dead in favour of a more evocative and ornate version of the American art form, one that transcends traditional genre and technological limitations to create a sound distinctly rooted in the past but unlike anything we've heard before.
While Ellison clearly respects the creators that have come before him — his aunt and uncle Alice and John Coltrane, as well as post-bop mastermind Herbie Hancock (who guests on this album) among them — it's clear from the opening seconds of Thundercat's tricked-out bass on "Tesla" and Kendrick Lamar's frenzied vocal delivery on "Never Catch Me" that Ellison is no longer concerned with genre constraints or the sounds that have come before him.
The album is a sonic and symbolic game changer in the world of electronic music, its title alone acting as a warning and sly foreshadowing of the future ahead; once You're Dead!, nothing is ever the same. (Matthew Ritchie)