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Flying Lotus takes Brixton Academy to the third dimension, Live in London

17 December 2018, 08:49 | Written by Jack Dutton

“I feel like I’m an O.G. now; I’ve been here for a minute,” said Steven Ellison, aka Los Angeles-based experimental producer Flying Lotus. “London has always had my back. It’s hard for me not to be all over my feelings right now.”

To mark the 10th Anniversary of label Brainfeeder, Flying Lotus played an emotional show at London's Brixton Academy. Fellow label mates Thundercat, Lapalux, Georgia Anne Muldrow and Ross From Friends also joined the party by supporting the the Brainfeeder boss that evening.

Flying Lotus is an alchemist, obsessed with the interplay between music and visuals, and even made his feature-length debut in the film industry last year with "Kuso". Although many critics panned the horror film, Flying Lotus’s visuals captivated the crowd as they were serenaded by colourful birds, bees with Aphex-Twin inspired faces, floating planets and more. The fact that these visuals were in 3D made them all the more mind blowing.

The music was as varied as the visuals, a cornucopia of heavy hip-hop instrumentals, electronic rhythms, broken beats and ghostly choir vocals. Being the grand nephew of Alice and John Coltrane, you can often hear jazzy influences in Flying Lotus’s tracks. One of the highlights was the mellow “Getting There’, from Flying Lotus’s 2012 album Until The Quiet Comes, a track accompanied by cosmic visuals of the milky way as well as sandy beaches.

Keeping with the cinematic trend, he later dropped his own version of the David Lynch’s "Twin Peaks Theme" with added trap 16th hi hats. But it was Flying Lotus’ originals that worked the best; a case in point being “Computer Face/Pure Being” from his third album Cosmogramma. The intense, coruscating strobes and broken beats that sounded like malfunctioning washing machines as well as swelling synths ticked all the boxes.

Further showcasing his rapping skills under his Captain Murphy guise, “Dead Man’s Tetris” was a wobbly, menacing track that was matched with visuals of brains popping out of luminescent heads. After following with “Fkn Dead”, a jazzy interlude from fifth album You’re Dead, he played some unreleased tracks from MF Doom and Denzel Curry. The Denzel Curry tune, “Black Balloons 2”, produced by Flying Lotus, featured word play such as: “If the President fuck around and piss off ISIS, bury me in blueberry bills, jewels and ices.”

Another unreleased FlyLo-produced track followed: “Eyes Above” featuring a verse from Kendrick Lamar which could almost be cut from the same cloth as You’re Dead. The spine-tingling jazz piano and George Clinton-inspired bass line of “Never Catch Me” followed as the closing track, which was met with deafening fanfare from the audience.

With his extensive back catalogue, Flying Lotus could have continued playing into the early hours. After paying homage to the late rapper Mac Miller, he finished with the simple sign off about his next record due next year. “See you after the album drop. Fire is coming.”

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