Published Apr 01, 2005After choosing the lush tropics of Puerto Rico over Detroits bitter winter, Jeremy Ellis returns stateside with Lotus Blooms, a jazzed out broken beat album heavily influenced by the traditional bomba and plena rhythms of Puerto Rico. Never afraid to flex a little muscle on the keyboards, or a little funk on the drum sequencing or a little soul on his vocals, Ellis is a virtual one-man-electronic virtuoso. Studying classical piano since childhood is a good way to start on that path and Ellis isnt afraid to show off some of his Mozart chops on this record. Check out the incredibly adventurous "Callelunakarma that flows seamlessly from hip-hop to house to nu-jazz to broken beat and back to hip-hop without losing a single step. The soulful "Take Your Time chops and leaps all over the dance floor while the deep "I Believe grinds to a laid back bedroom rocker. From the bouncing broken beat of "Bombakiss to the very sexy version of the traditional "Cortano A Elena, it seems like Ellis has mastered the Latin rhythm and applied them to his signature Detroit future-funk sound. Lotus Blooms is an impressive record from an equally impressive artist unafraid to challenge himself with new and old sounds.
What was it about Puerto Rico that inspired you to stay there for a few months to work on Lotus Blooms? I was flown down there to play a festival and once I was there I fell in love with it. It wasnt necessarily something I sought out it was kind of like I was brought to it. Ive been studying Afro-Cuban music for a long time now and Puerto Rico is like the centre of the salsa universe in some ways. The thing is everybody there can play drums. That was the thing that really, initially blew my mind. Walking down the street, there was a drum circle every ten feet of the sickest drummers Ive ever heard.
Your computer with all your music from Puerto Rico was stolen at the airport. How did you carry the experiences and sounds from your time in P.R. back to Detroit and re-form them as Lotus Blooms? I felt like the world has smacked me up the head and told me "Dont do a Puerto Rican album, stupid. You cant just go down and learn a whole style of music in two months. At that point it started to naturally peek its way back into my music in a more unforced fashion. Classical music and Latin music have a lot of shared harmonic ideas, its extremely similar. I even heard a lot of great recording of bad-ass salsa versions of Bach pieces that sounds just like your average salsa song, but its Bach! (Ubiquity)