Flying Lotus’ fifth album, “You’re Dead!”, was releasedon Oct.7th on his personal label “Brainfeeder.” The afterlife-themed record boasts the musical fusion of hard-bop jazz and hip-hop, and it’s dead-on.
Born Steven Ellison, Flying Lotus is the grand-nephew of jazz prodigy John Coltrane. Jazz runs deep in his family tree, and this album can be seen as its long-awaited rebirth into modern music. As Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew” branched jazz into psychedelic, “You’re Dead!” is west coast big-beat’s step back into its roots.
The oddball lot of musical guests featured on the album include Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Niki Randa, Herbie Hancock, Brainfeeder bassist Thundercat and the Dirty Projector’s Angel Deradoorian.
“You’re Dead!” features a microcosm of L.A. rap, bop, footwork and instantaneous death.
The opening track thrusts the listener’s ears into an ascending-to-heaven-type heavy ambience, only to be reeled into a whirlwind of fluttering bass notes and snare brushes.
“Never Catch Me”
“This that life beyond your own life, this ain’t physical for mankind/this that out of body experience, no coincidence you been died/b*tch you’re dead!” spits Kendrick Lamar on this single. He’s the first voice heard on the album, followed by a fury of breakneck 808 claps, a riveting bassline and a layer of cool piano. It’s easily one of the best collaborations Flying Lotus has done.
“Dead Man’s Tetris”
“Hold-up, Hold-up, I bet you thinkin’ that we dead” raps Captain Murphy, Flylo’s voice-modulated rap persona on this track. The familiar head-nodding ticker tape beat logic presides but it descends into compressed-symphonic crescendos, later followed by the ever-so-sly Snoop Dogg. Snoop gives a relaxed and playful counter to Kendrick’s hard and hasty rhythm.
Instrumental tracks like “Turkey Dog Coma,” “Fkn Dead” and “Moment of Hesitation” deliver dynamic jazz interludes filled with horns, harps, pulsating brush snares and electric guitars. They create smooth transitions between his collaborative compositions.
This track slows things down into a blissful serenade by Angel Deradoorian, whose angelic voice explores an impressive range of octaves.
Flying Lotus exchanges his old, blaring bangers for a transformative postmodern journey. From the beginning, ”You’re Dead!” captures the shock of death, and shows his growth as a musical artist by fusing a wide array of musical genres.