Flying Lotus made headlines last week after the release of “More,” a single from his new album featuring Anderson .Paak. The track, which has apparently been in the works for more than five years, now has an accompanying video that includes all the surrealism expected from a Flying Lotus video.
Directed by Shinichiro Watanabe of the anime “Cowboy Bebop,” the video hosts Anderson .Paak as a robot, doling out advice (in the form of soulful bars) to Flying Lotus’ pained space-man character, eventually turning him into a burning tree made of human organs. The second video from Flamagra, Flying Lotus’ forthcoming album due out May 24, this release only makes the 27-track, feature-heavy project more intriguing.
Just shy of a week ago, Flying Lotus finally previewed his upcoming album, Flamagra, with the release of its first single “Fire Is Coming” and its apocalyptic video, directed in collaboration with David Firth and featuring acclaimed filmmaker David Lynch. Now, Flying Lotus has shared two additional singles, “Spontaneous” and “Takashi,” in a smooth combo package. Deviating from the horror-like elements of the previous single, “Fire Is Coming,” Spontaneous / Takashi sits on jazzy, light-hearted foundations that ultimately make for a seamless listening experience. “Takashi” derives its name from Takashi Kudo, an artist involved in the creative teamLab project that FlyLo visited in 2018.
The first track, “Spontaneous,” features vocals from Little Dragon, who croons, “Don’t you wanna test my love?” against a spacey atmospheric backdrop that transitions beautifully into the next track. Embellished with eclectic string sounds and equipped with a funky bassline, “Takashi” and its preceding track are oddly delightful, exuding day-off vibes at an alien beach.
With three singles revealed and each outstanding in their own stylistic and emotional intent, the rest of Flamagra and its spectrum of production remains a mystery, albeit an optimistic one.
Flamagra is set to release May 24 via Warp Records. FlyLo’s first album in five years, Flamagra will feature artists Anderson .Paak, Solange, Toro y Moi, Denzel Curry, Thundercat and more.
Flying Lotus has unequivocally been one of the most diverse and prolific producers of the past decade. His range has known no bounds. From the hip-hop interludes between late-night Adult Swimshows, to his collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Thundercat, and Thom Yorke, to heralding his own label and artistic collective, the Los Angeles-based visionary has consistently pushed the limits. Now, FlyLo is teasing his first new album in five years with the release of his unsettling new single “Fire Is Coming” featuring iconic filmmaker David Lynch. On his latest,it’s clear the artist lesser known as Steve Ellison is pushing once again, and this time, it’s well into the avant-garde.
The video, directed by the You’re Dead! producer and David Firth, lies the same realm of something one might find playing on an old TV in the Museum of Modern Art. In the new visual, David Lynch’s face twists and his eyes burn with fire as he tells a story from the mouth of a wolf in a wheelchair. His story is told to children adorned in fur. The score to this short film is in line with the visuals, it scratches and itches, it evokes an inalienable fear. The fear is that of the end or the impending notion of an apocalypse, which is a theme Flylo hasn’t been shy about in his previous works.
“I’d been working on stuff for the past five years, but it was always all over the place. I’d always had this thematic idea in mind—a lingering concept about fire, an eternal flame sitting on a hill. Some people love it, some people hate it. Some people would go on dates there and some people would burn love letters in the fire,” says Ellison in a press statement.
Mortality and humanity have been themes in his work for many years and despite their subtle nature have drawn realists, dreamers, and optimistic nihilists towards his music and message in droves.
Though this preview could be described as “disturbing”FlyLo’s upcoming FlamagraLP does manage to boast an impressive list of features—Anderson .Paak, Solange, George Clinton, Little Dragon, Thundercat, Toro y Moi and more will grace the album. Flamagra is expected to release May 24 on Warp Records.
1. Heroes 2. Post Requisite 3. Heroes In A Half Shell 4. More feat. Anderson .Paak 5. Capillaries 6. Burning Down The House feat. George Clinton 7. Spontaneous feat. Little Dragon 8. Takashi 9. Pilgrim Side Eye 10. All Spies 11. Yellow Belly feat. Tierra Whack 12. Black Balloons Reprise feat. Denzel Curry 13. Fire Is Coming feat. David Lynch 14. Inside Your Home 15. Actually Virtual feat. Shabazz Palaces 16. Andromeda 17. Remind U 18. Say Something 19. Debbie Is Depressed 20. Find Your Own Way Home 21. The Climb feat. Thundercat 22. Pygmy 23. 9 Carrots feat. Toro y Moi 24. FF4 25. Land Of Honey feat. Solange 26. Thank U Malcolm 27. Hot Oct.
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.
On Sunday, October 7, Flying Lotus excited fans with the news of his next album’s near completion.
The artist shared a note on Instagram in his own handwriting thanking friends and family for taking care of him in his endeavors. “These past few years on earth have really shaken me so much,” he wrote. “I’m grateful to be able to turn to you to make sense of it all.”
He ended his note with a P.S. disclosing that his next body of work was completed and being mastered October 8. While there’s no set release date for the new album, the LP will be his first full body of work since 2014’s You’re Dead. In the time since then, FlyLo’s been at work on sound-tracking films like “Blade Runner Black Out 2022” and “Perfect.”
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.