Flying Lotus - You're Dead
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Stephen Ellison once again works extensively beside longtime comrades and pulls new collaborators into his sphere. All of them - bassist and vocalist Thundercat, drummer Deantoni Parks, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, and many others worthy of mention - help him push jazz, R&B, rap, and electronic music forward at once. Most striking and powerful of all is "Never Catch Me," easily the longest cut. An album's worth of ideas and a whirlwind guest appearance from rapper Kendrick Lamar are condensed into its four sonically rich minutes. The tone dramatically shifts with the following "Dead Man's Tetris," a sinister concoction of melodic bleeps and gunshot effects involving Ellison as Captain Murphy, and also Snoop Dogg, in which J Dilla, Freddie Mercury, and Peralta are all part of the afterlife fantasy. Previous Flying Lotus releases have their bleak and elegiac moments, but they're central here, highlighted by "Coronus, the Terminator" (an Ellison/Niki Randa duet), "Siren Song" (fronted by Dirty Projectors' Angel Deradoorian), and "Obligatory Cadence.
Like his great aunt, Alice Coltrane and his great uncle John Coltrane, Ellison has created more exceptionally progressive, stirring, and eternal art.