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Thread: My Top Thirty Flying Lotus Songs

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    My Top Thirty Flying Lotus Songs



    In the age of Kuso, I need something to remind me why Flying Lotus is my favorite working musician. If you're unfamiliar, he's known for blending electronic, hip-hop, and jazz and you've actually heard him a lot if you watch Adult Swim.

    First, a few jazzy HMs under 1:30:

    Until the Colours Come
    Until the Quiet Comes
    []

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    Coleman's Groove
    ideas + drafts + loops
    []

    Descent Into Madness
    You're Dead!
    []

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    #30

    Moment of Hesitation
    You're Dead!

    Feels like: jazz

    When I first heard this as a preview for You're Dead!, it didn't make a huge impression. But I rewound the first two seconds so many times just to hear Herbie Hancock's wild intro (Kamasi Washington sounds great here too). Eventually I got a feel for the song--I always think about Bootsy Collins emphasizing the importance of "the one" (in terms of musical measures), and the propulsive nature of this thing ended up grabbing me.

    []
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 08-02-2017 at 06:11 PM.

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    #29

    Disco Balls
    5: Five Years of Hypderdub compilation

    Feels like: electro

    You don't often hear hard electronic sounds paired with a J Dilla beat, but Disco Balls makes it work. As fitting for a drug den as it is a club. Well, at least that's true in my imagination--I tried making it work with the EDM/dubstep crowd circa 2010 but it didn't catch on. Oh well. Song still kills.

    []

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    #28

    The Ritual
    Duality

    Feels like: hip-hop

    The Captain Murphy alter-ego is not my favorite FlyLo endeavor (you can definitely trace Kuso's lineage back to Duality), but as a poor man's Madvillain it's a worthwhile and brief detour in his career--just replace Madvillainy's comic book feel with trashy z-grade horror. On "The Ritual," producer Just Blaze turns De La Soul's "Sunshine" into a song about virgin sacrifice and satanic possession.

    []

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    #27

    Until the Quiet Comes
    Until the Quiet Comes

    Feels like: jazz

    Quintessential FlyLo. The mixture of live and synthetic instrumentation, slightly uncanny feel of disembodied vocals, sick Thundercat bass riffs--all the foundational ingredients are here. It's not a questions of whether or not someone could do it better. No one else makes music like this.

    []

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    #26

    GNG BNG
    Los Angeles

    Feels like: electro

    "GNG BNG" is insanity. First it's Bollywood-turned-banger, then it devolves into this corroded dubstep where the bass doesn't wobble so much as disintegrate rhythmically. There may not be a more hype FlyLo song.

    []

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    #25

    Kill Your Co-Workers
    Pattern + Gridworld

    Feels like: electro

    Flying Lotus is well-known for his love of video games, and if Pattern + Gridworld is dedicated to gaming then "Kill Your Co-Workers" is its most exuberant ode. Although it's incredibly fast and full of 8-bit tones, it's still way too melodic to be thrown in the chiptune bargain bin.

    []

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    What is best in life? D_Davis's Avatar
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    Cool thread.

    Going to be listening to these. I've never been able to get into this guy's music. It's really weird. I listen to a ton of jazz, hip hop, and electronic music (often all three mixed together), but for some reason I don't like this guy's syntheses of the various genres.

    For this kind of nu-jazz style, I prefer the Norwegian/German guys like Jan Bang, Nils Petter Molvaer, Eivind Aarset, etc.

    Hopefully some of these tracks win me over.

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    Today's entries are all very chill.

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    #24

    Turtles
    You're Dead!

    Feels like: jazz

    On a frenetic album like You're Dead!, "Turtles" is the kind of track that could easily sneak by unnoticed. But the simple riffs, finger cymbals, and lovely vocals create an exotic, relaxing vibe that perfectly soundtracks my imaginary happy place.

    []

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    #23

    Golden Diva
    Los Angeles

    Feels like: electro

    The ultimate Flying Lotus litmus test. Here is where "cool" culture and "nerd" culture are intertwined and indistinct; in my dreams Lil Wayne freestyles over "Golden Diva" while playing Super Monkey Ball. Do the sounds appeal to you? FlyLo fandom awaits.

    [
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  13. #13
    What is best in life? D_Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Idioteque Stalker (view post)
    #24

    Turtles
    You're Dead!

    Feels like: jazz

    On a frenetic album like You're Dead!, "Turtles" is the kind of track that could easily sneak by unnoticed. But the simple riffs, finger cymbals, and lovely vocals create an exotic, relaxing vibe that perfectly soundtracks my imaginary happy place.

    []

    I dig this one. Has a Tortoise vibe. It's called Turtles. An homage maybe?

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    #22

    Camera Day
    Pattern + Gridworld

    Feels like: electro

    The "feels like" bit on these posts should always be taken lightly, but "Camera Day" is particularly tricky. Rhythmically it's pretty much trap music (I always hear Rick Ross grunting), but ultimately the song is actually about the eerie, swirling background synthesizers and the 8-bit noise of an arcade character falling in a hole.

    []

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    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    I dig this one. Has a Tortoise vibe. It's called Turtles. An homage maybe?
    I'm not sure, but I certainly wouldn't put it past him. Glad you like it.

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    #21

    Zodiac Shit
    Cosmogramma

    Feels like: hip-hop

    Uh-oh... the Cosmogramma floodgates have opened. This is probably Flying Lotus's most popular song, and it's not hard to hear why. It's totally the type of song you play for high people to blow their minds.

    []

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    #20

    The Nightcaller
    Until the Quiet Comes

    Feels like: electro

    If Until the Quiet Comes is FlyLo's approximation of a psychedelic trip, then "The Nightcaller" is its star gate sequence. Even as the impossible colors and sounds swirl around you, the knowledge remains that you're definitely going somewhere--and fast. Rather than 2001's sterile hotel, however, you arrive at a crowded waiting room where everyone dances to decomposing muzak until they lose their mind.

    []

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    #19

    1983
    1983

    Feels like: hip-hop

    The first cut off his debut album, "1983" is still the coolest Flying Lotus song. Is it G-funk or IDM? Dr. Dre or Dntel? The monstrous bass line doesn't walk so much as stumble, yet it always ends up exactly where you want it. He could've made a pretty good career out of just doing stuff like this.

    []

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    #18

    DMT Song (Feat. Thundercat)
    Until the Quiet Comes

    Feels like: jazz

    When I saw this song on the tracklist for Until the Quiet Comes I was... concerned. "Oh great. 'DMT Song'--how tactless and on-the-nose." I was right. It's not subtle. But I'll be damned if it's not the most gorgeous thing he ever composed.

    []

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    #17

    The Diddler
    ideas + drafts + loops

    Feels like: hip-hop

    Here's where FlyLo pokes his head in to see what Clams Casino and the other cloud rap producers are doing. "Oh you mean kinda like this?" And "The Diddler" is born. Clean your house to this and you'll feel like a superhero. Turn it up loud enough and you'll swear it's a living thing.

    []

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    #16

    Breathe. Something / Stellar Star
    Los Angeles

    Feels like: hip-hop

    There's something very in-your-face about "Breathe." It's not particularly loud or rambunctious, but the way the beat comes in, the jazzy chord progression, and the ambient sci-fi clutter all make it feel much more like an anthem than your typical blunted head-nodder. After the success of 1983 and his Adult Swim bumpers, "Breathe" was a proclamation that he wouldn't remain still. Here is the moment FlyLo opened himself to the cosmos.

    []

  22. #22
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    Huh. The next five songs prominently feature other artists. It just worked out that way.

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    #15

    Between Friends (Feat. Earl Sweatshirt)
    Duality

    Feels like: hip-hop



    The Captain Murphy detour would've gotten waaaay more flack if not for this song. Earl Sweatshirt pretty much equals instant credibility, so Adult Swim had everyone wondering who this mysterious Captain Murphy guy was even though his verse is obviously the song's low-point (FlyLo soon revealed it was him the whole time--shrug). "Between Friends" begins with an epic tease and ends with sci-fi boom-bap, but in between it's easily the most straightforward hip-hop song FlyLo ever made, with a beautiful xylophone melody and so much assonance even MF Doom took notice.

    []
    Last edited by Idioteque Stalker; 08-18-2017 at 12:37 AM.

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    #14

    Robertaflack (Feat. Dolly)
    Los Angeles

    Feels like: hip-hop



    What relevant hip-hop producer doesn't cite J Dilla as an influence? Flying Lotus certainly shares this with his peers, but still--nobody else is crazy enough to turn what might've been their most radio-friendly R&B jam into an unapologetically sloppy, cluttered mess of a song. "Robertaflack" shouldn't work, but somehow it's still one of the coolest, sexiest--and when the distortion ramps up, dare I say emotional--songs of his career.

    []

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    #13

    Never Catch Me (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)
    You're Dead

    Feels like: jazz



    While certainly exciting at the time, "Never Catch Me" makes a lot more sense to me in the years following Kendrick's To Pimp a Butterfly (an album on which FlyLo played a significant role). A friend said at the time, "Wow, this is totally the type of beat Kendrick would rap over." And at the time I thought, "Is it really?" Now I almost expect him to stop ruminating on mortality for a second just to say something about how his dick ain't free.

    From a musician's standpoint this has to be one of Flying Lotus's most impressive songs. Here's a cool video of some very talented people covering it. The piano loop, the intricate drum patterns, the background vocals--it's basically one big crescendo to a sublime instrumental outro featuring my favorite Thundercat bass riff.

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