You’re Dead!, Flying Lotus
Flying Lotus released his most recent album during the last quarter of 2014 and has been spinning on various playlists ever since then. If you’ve heard his music before, then the span of genres that he easily seams together is no surprise. You’re Dead! is a musical project that comes together after creating its own space, often separate from other musical forms and even distanced from fundamental conceptions of music at times.
The album consists mostly of shorter, unvoiced tracks, but is dotted at times with songs featuring artists including Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg and one of FlyLo’s consistent collaborators, Niki Randa. Even in the midst of his elegantly produced soundscapes, the songs with other artists sustain the beauty that is carried completely throughout the album.
There are few individual standout tracks on FlyLo’s most recent drop, even though every song is an experience within itself. However, the second, fifth, seventh, 11th and final tracks on the album were particularly appealing. In “Tesla,” an attacking guitar opens up over drums reminiscent of the rhythmic intensity that Max Roach always brought about in his playing. The keys hum in a soft glow like that of a pastel stoplight mesh with these other elements to create a fast-paced track that is naturally full of life. Any question of the jazz artistry present at hand is quickly put to rest early on within the album, as the complications of melody and rhythm both advance and recede at times during the album.
Track five, “Never Gonna Catch Me,” featuring Kendrick Lamar, is another song that seems to “run,” as K. Dot’s intensity perfectly complements the softer aspects characteristic of FlyLo’s production. It is a story of black abjection told in manners that would seem to have been all but forgotten. Be sure to check out the video that accompanies it.
Based off of its name, I immediately had high expectations for “Turkey Dog Coma,” yet was completely blown out of the water by what I heard. It sounds like something Jimi Hendrix would have participated in – an electric guitar patiently races against knocking percussions that sound like they are from another galaxy. Things come to a calm during a refrain in the middle before opening back up and dialing off into digital fidgeting, which adds miles of emotion to the song’s journey.
Track 11 is a point of recession, a pause with a deeper feeling that is contrasted with and allows you to enjoy the previous and subsequent tracks. Right when I thought the speed of the music was underappreciated, everything slows down. The space created found me bobbing my head to a different tempo, as I was allowed to really listen to the peculiarities of each instrument’s timbre and attunement.
By the last track, “The Protest,” I realize the irony of the album’s title You’re Dead! Precisely in that, I think, its youthful music will live forever. FlyLo seems conscious of this, as his songs escape even his control at times.
You’re Dead! is an album that brings together a totality of soundscapes into one cohesive manifestation, solidifying the musical genius of Flying Lotus. It is an album of meditation that was obviously thought out in whole, as each song flows into the next one, to create a complete vibe for the album. However, each track could unquestionably stand on its own, leaving you wanting more, but realizing that beauty of such an extent has to be contained in some way. Every single song is replayable, and I cannot wait to hear the next project that Flying Lotus will release.