Flying Lotus has been recruited by Netflix to produce the score of Yasuke, and upcoming anime Netflix original series starring Lakeith Stanfield. Yasuke will be directed by LeSean Thomas, a man with an eclectic background in animated series having given the world The Boondocks and Black Dynamite. Thomas’ productions have had a consistent raw, humorous, and above all honest, focus on black life in America, successfully delivered through superb animation, mindful scrips, and exhilarating hype-inducing scores.
Yasuke will follow a former samurai who picks his sword up once again to protect a child from mysterious forces that want to see the innocent murdered. The ronin who will be voiced acted by Stanfield, of Atlanta and Sorry To Bother You fame, is based on an African samurai who formerly performed duties under the feudal lord Oda Nobunaga during the Sengoku period or the Warring States period in Japan which occurred between the 15th to 17th centuries.
Flying Lotus is sure to put his all into this series as the Brainfeeder head-honcho is also acting as an executive producer. FlyLo is also due to release a major multi-instrumental collaborative 10-year anniversary box setBrainfeeder X on Nov. 16.
While Thundercat, FlyLo, and BADBADNOTGOOD all have impressive and unique discographies, “King of the Hill” proves to be a testament to the potential of collaboration. BADBADNOTGOOD’s arrangement is characteristically jazzy, meticulous, and tight, and Thundercat’s bass jams with the band while his angelic voice guides the message. While all this natural jamming is happening, leave it to FlyLo to come through with the production. The arrangement is flush and well-thought-out with interludes that create a sense of calm to take in the waves of funk. This is exactly what Brainfeeder and Brainfeeder X are all about, and nothing could convey that feel and that message than the song itself.
Over the past decade, Flying Lotus’ label Brainfeeder has consistently published a discography of experimental genre-defying music that genuinely challenged its listeners to grow and its artists to become household names. What better way to celebrate a perfect wave than to ride it? With the announcement of Brainfeeder X, it’s clear FlyLo plans to do just that.
The two-volume 36-track compilation is spliced between what has been and what will come to be. In volume one lives a homage to the label’s past decade with tracks from Taylor McFerrin, TOKiMONSTA, and Lapalux. Volume two boasts an even more contemporary sound through unreleased tracks from Thundercat featuring BADBADNOTGOOD, FlyLo with BUSDRIVER, Louis Cole, Taylor Graves, Ross from Friends and more. All in all, 22 of the 36 tracks are unreleased and are surefire sonic gold.
Brainfeeder X will be available November 16 digitally, as two CDs, and as a four-vinyl box set (expertly packaged by Charles Munka, who also designed the Brainfeeder logo). In tune with the theme of celebration and collaboration, there will be a Brainfeeder x London show on December 15. Flying Lotus and Thundercat are already on the lineup, but it’s guaranteed Brainfeeder won’t be pulling any punches with the artists and friends coming through. In veteran internet-age style, FlyLo also put out his remix of Brandon Coleman’s jam “Walk Free” to accompany the project’s release announcement, listen below.
Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint has just announced its 10th anniversary compilation, Brainfeeder X, and shared the 36-track album’s lead single. Flying Lotus’ remix of Brainfeeder signee Brandon Coleman’s “Walk Free” puts a soft, jazzy beat behind the original’s Auto-Tuned vocals. More »
Because the dynamics are obvious but the climaxes aren’t, it’s safe to say Oliver Johnson’s approach to pacing and arrangement is more tantric than hedonic. With The Nature of Imitation, Johnson’s latest release under the Dorian Concept name, the Austrian producer’s cyberfunk noodling is dizzying and mandarin, yet the payoff is often subdued or withheld. “E13” shifts, stutters, and glitches between immaculately produced dance synth lines, waxing and waning without ever finding a zenith. On album standout “J Buyers,” Johnson spends the first minute and 35 seconds on the song’s buildup; when the release comes, he’s still able to sustain that energy (replete with its own de/crescendos) for another three minutes. In short, he shows us what an id can do without submitting to it.
But that doesn’t mean the album tries to be didactic; it’s too eccentric for that. Even at its petulant nadirs like “A Mother’s Lament” and “Dishwater,” there’s an unassailable weirdness throughout: the lo-fi aesthetic of the former and the susurrus of feedback underpinning the latter. It sounds as if Johnson is trying to make a disruptive electronica record, one that invites us to dance while challenging us if we actually do.
On the whole, Imitation is self-consciously danceable and overconfidently messy. It’s restless music for restless people, and while it entertains plenty for stretches, it doesn’t quite hold the focus that a 40-minute collection of songs demands. Like so many artists of this stripe, Dorian Concept recognizes how deficient his audience’s attention is, but tests it all the same. And it’s admirable, to say the least.
The yin and yang of Mamu—a mystical dimension that exists in some plane that has no time connection to ours—haven’t always been all peanut drops and lemon springs.
Scattered across Neo Wax Bloom there is a kind of harmony that is loosely bound by elements of chaos. Three thousand years before The Great Eyes appeared to watch over the gummy hills and sugar lakes existed a time when a sneeze could blow Mamu to smithereens.
Enter Mogu: A tiny witch that can move at inconceivable speeds and holds all the frenetic energy of the Mamu dimension. He bounces from planet to planet like a pinball creating new cosmic structures from the destruction accidentally left behind. This continues for eons. Nothing lasts for more than a nano day before Mogu blasts through it. How will other life come to exist?
Enter Tamei: A young god-in-training with a destiny that no Ooblonga Shaman could ever predict. To complete his training he must achieve perfect harmony. Unfortunately, Tamei can hardly see what lurks beyond the light. He’s moved to the edge and starred off into the abyss but he would not allow it to gaze back. How will he complete his training and fulfill the destiny bestowed upon him by the ancient Ilsuns?
Enter Iglooghost, the weaver, for he shall tell the tale of Mogu and Tamei!
Sometime in the last couple years, Felix Weatherall became the beneficiary of an increasingly prominent trope in the 21st-century music industry: a viral internet hit by way of YouTube’s “Recommended” column. Much in the same way Boy Pablo and Clairo struck it big with their runaway singles “Everytime” and “Pretty Girl,” respectively, the English producer gained an uptick in fans and followers through the site’s algorithmically-tested method of artist exposure. The song was called “Talk to Me You’ll Understand,” and it showed the internet Weatherall’s knack for penning engaging (if divisive) lo-fi, semi-ironic dance tunes. Operating under the annoyingly arch stage name Ross from Friends, Weatherall found himself party to the growing trend of pointedly unpolished, internet-centric electronic music that’s taken hold of social media’s more experimental corners of late.
Earlier this month, Weatherall released the video for “Pale Blue Dot,” which features an edited version of a 1990 video travelogue taken by his mother, depicting her exploits as she mingles with the rogues’ gallery of desultory English house music enthusiasts, of which Felix’s father was a member. (This trans-European sojourn served as the impetus for the couple’s relationship). And so for much of Family Portrait, Weatherall’s latest release under the name Ross from Friends, the London-based DJ reckons with matters of nostalgia and artistic authenticity — two issues that were bound to arise, given that his big break came via a democratized video-sharing platform and that his very existence springs from the chance encounter of two wayward techno-heads in the 90s — while often overcoming both, yet never entirely vanquishing either.
As a member of this new wave of musicians whose career is predicated on the wide-reaching breadth of the internet, Whitehall is keenly aware of his own ephemerality. So as a reaction against the transitory nature of YouTube’s one-hit wonder algorithm, Portrait opts for long-burning tracks, songs that refuse to cater to the picayune attention span of a generation molded by the bygone Vine and the indomitable five-second unskippable video advertisement. Songs like “Parallel Sequence” and “Project Cybersyn” both run beyond the five-minute mark, yet neither overstay their welcome. The former makes invaluable use of crucially-timed breaks, amphetamine-jitter drums, and wistfully familiar synth lines; the latter is a triumph of inspired pacing and meticulous dynamics.
Like “Pale Blue Dot’s” home movie aesthetic, a family portrait is a curious staple of the nuclear family; as a snapshot of domestic harmony, its placidity belies the ugly reality of many family dynamics. Forced smiles betray the animus of its hormone-addled teenage subjects. Artificial backdrops and a tasteful, safe dress attire help to smooth over cracks in the façade. Patriarchal authority is often implied, however inaccurately. Ross is aware of this bifurcation; his use of outdated keyboard sounds tends to signify a doleful feeling rather than a nostalgic one. The title track, for example, employs a snail’s pace tempo and static-y atmosphere to conjure a feeling of reminiscent malaise. It’s like looking back on your childhood and realizing how little your household resembled a Hallmark card. While Ross from Friends explores an incredibly specific theme, that of a misremembered personal past, he does so with a keen ear for detail and an unparalleled facility for sonic layering.
For listeners who don’t care to give Family Portrait its due attention, the album will sound like a collection of headphone bangers: music to check your email to, but nothing worth getting excited about. This is partly Weatherall’s own fault, as eight of the twelve tracks here surpass a four-minute run time and few would sound as good on a dancefloor as they do on a laptop. So to ask the audience to remain patient for the record’s 55 minutes proves a tall order, especially for music as subdued as this. Still, Weatherall demonstrates an indisputable talent for compiling and arranging a diverse array of sounds into one cohesive song on Family Portrait, and his recent signing to Flying Lotus’s Brainfeeder label only serves to reaffirm this truth. In a landscape where kinda-ironically named musicians like DJ Seinfeld and Red Foreman & The Acid Flashback at Nightmare Beach are beginning to prosper (or at the very least, exist unquestioned), that Ross from Friends can emerge as a major voice in his genre speaks volumes to the prodigious musical talent he displays here on Portrait. And until a musician by the name of MC Larry Sanders emerges and quietly outdoes all of these other 90s-themed reactionaries, I’ll be happy keeping “The Knife” in a light-to-moderate rotation.
Ross from Friends has become one of the most prominent purveyors of lo-fi house since the subgenre’s explosion over the past couple years. Alongside DJ Seinfeld, Mall Grab, and more, Ross from Friends has made serious waves with his understated approach to the typically high-charged genre. Now, lovers of all things lo-fi will be pleased to know that the artist has released his debut LP, titled Family Portrait, on Flying Lotus‘ Brainfeeder imprint.
Spanning twelve lush tracks, Family Portrait is a truly impressive work, and comprehensive as well. It’s packed to the brim with warm textures and beautifully complex percussion, and stands as a culmination of the producer’s life up to this point. Ross from Friends, a.k.a. Felix Weatherall, grew up with music all around him – he watched his father DJ and produce on analog gear after touring the eclectic European rave circuit. The old school influence is clearly present in this record, with an attention to detail and a long-form prowess giving off an aura reminiscent of the storied scenes of London and Detroit. A smooth and invigorating listen, Ross from Friends has set the bar very high with his first full length offering, proving that lo-fi house is here not only to stay, but also to grow.
Kamasi Washington is among the most original voices in jazz today, but his sound is wholly a collaboration; each of his band members pulls incredible weight to support its leader’s vision. One of them, Brandon Coleman, more funkily dubbed “Professor Boogie,” is delivering his own record via Fly Lo’s Brainfeeder imprint come September. Though its protest-tinged title is Resistance, the music is inspirational and inspiring, very much in line with — but not imitative of — what Washington has been exploring throughout his musical career.
The lead single, “Giant Feelings,” was written in the spirit of joint playing, a celebratory anthem propelled by Patrice Quinn’s vocals. You might have heard it live during one of Washington’s sets. The way the track combines influences from various genres speaks to the undeniably hybrid nature of Coleman’s America, no doubt where this particular letter is being addressed.
Below, peep Coleman’s video for “Giant Feelings,” featuring Patrice Quinn, Techdizzle, some sweet keytar action, and naturally, Kamasi himself. Grab Resistance September 14 on Brainfeeder.
01. Live For Today
02. All Around the World
03. A Letter to My Buggers
04. Addiction (feat. Sheera)
06. There’s No Turning Back
08. Sunday (feat. N’Dambi)
09. Just Reach For the Stars
11. Giant Feelings
12. Walk Free
Make no mistake, Ross From Friends doesn’t want to be taken too seriously. Born Felix Clary Weatherall, Friends is known for his punny pseudonym and feel-good tunes which are as easy to get lost in on just the repeated listens as they are with the hour-long loops online. Weatherall has just shared a video for a new song “Pale Blue Dot,” from his upcoming album Family Portrait.
The accompanying video’s a grainy VHS video shot by Ross From Friends’ mother, Jo Weatherall, who recorded Ross’ father, Jamie Clary, while the two were traveling through London and Europe right when they met in 1990. “Pale Blue Dot” is an appropriate lead for Ross’ new album, dedicated largely to his father, as it too nods to the influence of his parents on his music, particularly the sounds of hi-NRG dance, Italo disco, and proto-Techno.
Family Portrait album is out July 27 via Brainfeeder.