Released: 10 December 2013 (Self-Released)
By Hannah Baackmann-Friedlaender
Rumor has it that Flying Lotus has been working on his next full-length album for 2014, and it’s just about ready for mixing. He seems rather smitten with the process. His excitement boiled over into bundling up 24 tracks of his latest experimenting into a zip file to celebrate hitting 300,000 twitter followers. Calling it ideas+drafts+loops, he unleashed it to the twitter sphere with a caption reading “thanks for everything . . im feelin all emo about this. .” After giving it a listen, I am quite excited too. Download it here.
Ideas+drafts+loops is just that—an auditory sketchbook, if you will, of the fantastic assortment of ideas floating around FlyLo’s mighty brain. I’m not about to say that futuristic, other worldly, dynamically textured creations are a supreme form of sound, but Flying Lotus certainly earns his stripes when it comes to this realm of innovation. For this reason, I personally think FlyLo’s move to let his followers in on his thought process was a wonderful service to the world. Ideas+drafts+loops is all the meat without the weight of being an actual album. It’s eating the batter before the cake gets baked and decorated: raw, delicious, but not quite done.
Some major factors driving FlyLo’s creative success are the influences he draws on, and ideas+drafts+loops is no exception. But more note-worthy on this release is the volume of talent-loaded collaborations showing up in what amounts to FlyLo’s outtakes reel. Thundercat, Shabazz Palaces, Baths, DJ Mehdi, Niki Randa, the Underachievers, Andreya Triana, Earl, Mapei, and Viktor Vaughn himself have all left some fingerprints on it. The result is the fledglings of some next-level shit mixed amongst a fair amount of old school style material. This is especially true for the hip-hop flavors FlyLo plays with, where a clear response to the inflated intensity Kanye West brought with Yeezus can be heard. FlyLo explores the punctuated dynamism of West’s latest album through his own sound, and answers back. He collaborates with Thundercat on a remix of Black Skinhead where gradual distortions of Kanye’s peaking verses almost mock the extravagance with which Kanye addresses his ego.
Ideas+drafts+loops serves up a number of underdeveloped, interlude type tracks. Despite feeling incomplete, they bring a massive range of color and moods. We get Aqua teen 24, which offers a little dose of a pleasingly chaotic vocal sampling, crash symbols, and Cap’n theatrics. We get Oatmeal Face, where FlyLo grinds blues, surf rock sounds, an aggressive “shut up—bitch”. and a sprinkle of soulful mumbling into a pleasantly jarring clip. We get tree tunnels, which develops the rhythmic rustling feels that Flying Lotus laced into his 2013 LP Until the Quiet Comes. On this one, rather than getting heavy with his special brand of percussion driven structure, he washes you with a strumming high to low tone, runs some quiet El Ten Eleven sounding guitar through it, makes you fall in love by the minute mark, then leaves you hanging at 1:43. We get Puppet Talk, where FlyLo distills his sound down to pure atmospheric subtlety with pitch shifted Erik Satie samples, vinyl crackles, and ambient synths. The end product is Satie’s classic ethereal composition taken to perfectly delicate and masterfully complementary dimensions. It is so goddamn soothing that you might just need to listen to it again to cope with any disappointment arising from the realization that it only lasts a minute.
While there is a share of natural redundancies on ideas+drafts+loops, the 24-piece mind map offers some excellent reasons to be excited about Flying Lotus’ upcoming LP.
Favorite tracks: Ideas // little hours ft Baths // TheKill ft Niki Randa // about that time// thundercat – yeezus – black skinhead // Puppet Talk
Rating: Loved It