Flying Lotus -- aka Californian Steven Ellison -- is the kind of artist who is giving tripped-out ambient electronica a good name with this deliberately noctural sounding outing.
His music, as witnessed on this dreamscape fourth album, doesn't entirely float off into the ether but remains cleverly grounded through influences from world music, downbeat neo-jazz, hip-hop and soul while still (mostly) effecting a featherlight cosmic journey.
Like a pastel jigsaw puzzle, the pieces here (mostly) fit so snugly that advance editions to reviewers came as a single continuous 46 minute track which actually made sense, even though there are vocal collaborations (again) with Niki Randa and Laura Darlington, and an understated Erykah Badu (whose voice-as-instrument makes you wish Flying Lotus had been around to work with Flora Purim in her heyday).
Radiohead's Thom Yorke is present on the gloomy electro-noir landscape of Electric Candyman with its disconcerting voices and unsettling beats.
DMT Song featuring Thundercat is a snippet of spaced-out soul . . . and many of these separate tracks seem like edits from much longer pieces woven together. The remixes will doubtless be just as interesting and possibly more enlightening as this.
Not everything here works. The fuzzed-out static of The Nightcaller is a rude and unnecessary intrusion and tracks like Heave(n) are undernourished and incomplete. The wonky and child-like electro-fairground pop of Putty Boy Strut also seems to have come from another consciousness.
But this is like a canvas of stretched out trippery (and occasional frippery) and if some of the pieces don't quite melt into the whole then rest assured, they are over soon enough and it is back to business as unusual again.
Like the sound of this? Then check out this.
By Graham Reid, posted