Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes REVIEW

This album is essentially the soundtrack to a lucid dream.

I’m gonna make this quick before I forget everything I’m gonna say.

Flying Lotus is one of my musical heroes, and an influence on me as both a lover and a producer of music. The way that his unmistakable and choppy yet fluid swing breaks through any palette of sounds that he’s working with on is pretty incredible, and it’s been cool to see him and his production style evolve throughout the years that have passed since the “baggage room” bump and the Reset EP. It’s still mind-boggling to see him in the credits of a Kendrick Lamar album.

Cosmogramma is one of my all-time favorite albums, and that is certainly no dismissal of some of his other albums such as Los Angeles, but a special interest of mine was piqued towards his album Until the Quiet Comes. It was a mature, bold, and freeform step into unexplored ground for FlyLo, and it seemed too big for my young mind to swallow when I stumbled upon it.

Until the Quiet Comes is a jazzier and groovier effort than the bitcrushed bleep-blap beats that I am accustomed to and sorta perceive as synonymous with FlyLo. It’s kind of like how To Pimp a Butterfly was to good kid, m.A.A.d city–but perhaps that’s comparing apples with oranges. FlyLo’s normal style of production helps listeners get settled in at the start of the album, takes a backseat during the jam seshes that provide the bulk of the album, and then triumphantly returns around the end.

It also has a Thom Yorke feature.

Sounds pile up and coalesce with one another like vestiges of memories melting into one another within the confines of one’s mind on UTQC, and songs segue smoothly into each other in a very similar fashion. Bits of one song can be heard in another song, even if it’s on the other side of the album. Additionally, the album has structure; “All In” and “Dream to Me” respectively represent an intro and outro, and there are also considerably short tracks throughout UTQC that seem to function as interludes. My mind ended up drifting to J Dilla’s Donuts when thinking about them, for whatever reason. They’re intriguing at best (“Until the Colours Come”, “Sultan’s Request”) and throwaways at worst (“DMT Song”).

Also, there’s a Thom Yorke feature.

Although sounds pretty much run amok on this thing, there is an underlying connection through its dreamy textures and ethereal atmospheres that are omnipresent during the energetic first half and the more subdued second half. In that sense, this album is essentially the soundtrack to a lucid dream. Its dreaminess begs for it to be listened to at night, perhaps while staring at the sky that you are soon to be drowned in by the music. However, that’s a setback for me.

While it’s pretty sonically cohesive, the general mood of UTQC is very austere and limited. One of the reasons why I love Cosmogramma is the roulette of different moods that spins round during the album. There are upbeat tracks like “Computer Face / Pure Being” and “Galaxy in Janaki” as well as more mellow and downtrodden tracks like “…And the World Laughs With You” and “Mmmhmm”. Perhaps FlyLo intended to do this so as to bolster the listening experience, but it’s something that I couldn’t shake off.

Did I mention there was a Thom Yorke feature? Because there’s a Thom Yorke feature.

Speaking of the listening experience, I pretty much mentally checked out during the entire second half of the album. For an album that emphasizes minimalism so much, you’d think that it would know when to stop; it curls itself into a fetal position so tightly that it soon forgets to stretch. As a result, things start sounding repetitive, and that’s something I hate to say about a FlyLo album. Maybe he programmed the album so people would fall asleep halfway through so they wouldn’t have to hear the rest.

Wow. Even I thought that was harsh.

Consensus: Through newfound jazz elements and experimentation, Until the Quiet Comes has a commendable minimalist focus on atmosphere, groove, and simplicity, but that same simplicity ends up being its undoing. At least it has a Thom Yorke feature.

7/10

Favorite tracks: “Getting There”, “Tiny Tortures”, “All the Secrets”, “Putty Boy Strut”, “Until the Quiet Comes”, “The Nightcaller”

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