Reviews

Pattern Against (Electro) User

Flying Lotus - Pattern+Grid World EP

Pattern+Grid World EP

Flying Lotus

Release Date: Sep 21, 10

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You’ve probably heard of FlyLo at some point, whether it’s for his work with [adult swim] or the fact that on this year’s full-length Cosmogramma he collaborated with some dude from Radiohead; I think his name is Tom or something. Flying Lotus (nee Steven Ellison) has gained quite a bit of buzz in the past couple years for his own specific brand of skittering instrumental beats, which defy notions of what electronica and hip-hop “sound like.”

His new EP Pattern+Grid World only testifies to FlyLo’s powers as one of the more interesting sounds in electronica right now. “Clay” begins with a mixture of air raid sirens and a classical-style synth line that sounds filtered through a Victrola and then again through a meat grinder. On “Clay” and “Jurassic Notion/M Theory” he layers click tracks upon one another to create a tribal sound reminiscent of the non-live drum portions of Switch’s production work on M.I.A.’s Kala. In the case of that latter track, he also works in an effective dose of glass percussion. These seven tracks alone display his chops as a producer, as he moves seamlessly from that sound to the synth-heavy (and catchy) “Camera Day” to the subdued ambience of “Time Vampires.” It’s hard not to prefer the wilder stuff over the mellower, though; FlyLo is at his best when he’s at his most gleefully strange.

“Pie Face” is a great example of Lotus pushing normal genre format further; it begins as a record-ready hip-hop beat before e/devolving into something entirely unusual; likewise, “Physics For Everyone!” begins as somewhat standard electronica before falling into a break of twinkling synthesized bells that calls to mind the falling of a digital rain. The standout track here has to be “Kill Your Co-Workers,” which at its start recalls FlyLo’s work doing the bumper music between shows on [adult swim]. As it progresses, it turns into the soundtrack to a battle sequence from a 16-bit-era video game; the bass tones underneath the synths sound remarkably similar to a firefight battle. Pattern+Grid World, on the heels of Cosmogramma, proves that electronica right now is Flying Lotus’ playground, and that most other artists working within it need to start playing under King of the Mountain rules; he gets the top until somebody takes him down.