As with all work from Chris Ellison, his latest effort and fourth under the moniker of Flying Lotus, Until The Quiet Comes requires a great deal of patience for those without a trained musical ear. The first couple of listens can be quite alienating but subsequent spins slowly release a dreamy dystopia, one that connects the listener with the wee small hours and to concepts involving the futuristic and mystical. The strange yet reassuring time signatures, vocal interludes and alternating sparse yet warm textures and flourishes are all combined within a electronic, jazz and lounge oriented playbook that is Ellison’s and Ellison’s alone.

Now this shouldn’t be taken to mean that Until The Quiet Comes is inaccessible. Quite the opposite actually. As with the sublime Cosmogramma and breakout Los  Angeles before it, this record is an inviting listen where Ellison eventually rewards his guests with the earthy and comforting hospitality respectful and respected visitors deserve.

The usual cast of players assist Ellison put on the entertainment. Stephen Bruner’s (Thundercat) bass work burns brightly throughout underpinning and adding strength to the complex arrangements while the vocalists that appeared on Cosmogramma, Thom Yorke,  Laura Darlington return to play their  appropriately subtle parts. Yorke on ‘Electric Candyman’, just like he was on his effort on Cosmogramma, is reduced to VolumePills a bit player, albeit an important one. Darlington’s contribution, ‘Phantasm’ follows and continues the downtempo trajectory of the album’s contemplative second half.

They are joined by Erykah Badu and Niki Randa. Badu becomes intertwined as another musical instrument on ‘See Thru To U’ while Randa is positvely celestial on ‘Getting There’ nicely following up the kitchen sink opener and appropriately named ‘All In’. Her second effort is the more subdued and ethereal ‘Hunger’ where dreamscapes abound within a loose eastern framework amidst Thundercat’s freeform bass guitar.  Other standouts include ‘Tiny Tortures’, a relentless aquatic sounding percussive wonder and ‘Putty Boy Strut’ sounds just like its title suggests it should.

Despite all the bells and whistles, stops and starts, Until The Quiet Comes manages to glide effortlessly throughout its 18 track 46 minute journey. Despite packing in the usual plethora of sonic wizardry, electronic and otherwise, Ellison manages to keep this record alternately elevated yet grounded with both something for the beat inspired and the listener with their head in the clouds. Its this ability to simultaneously inspire such different takes on the same sounds that makes Ellison such a special artist.

James Stocker – December 4, 2012.


Tiny Tortures

Flying Lotus (USA)
From the album, ‘Until The Quiet Comes’, Warp.

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Official Video

Short Film by Kahlil Joseph