For the last half-decade, Los Angeles-based producer Flying Lotus (real name: Steven Ellison) has been at the forefront of a mini-movement fusing instrumental hip-hop, electronica and cosmic jazz. Ellison became blog-beloved with his last album, 2010’s “Cosmogramma,” and while he’ll never be Skrillex, “Until the Quiet Comes” — with its harrowing trailer video that recently went viral and its buzzed-about Thom Yorke collaboration — may represent his best chance to connect with mainstream audiences.
Ellison’s music is cool and cerebral, controlled even when it seems like it’s not, and notable partly for what it isn’t. It’s not quite hip-hop, not exactly EDM, not warm, accessible or bro-steppy. “Cosmogramma” was theatrical, lively, dense and generally hard to classify; “Until the Quiet Comes” is a 3 A.M. comedown album that is both intimate and spacious, a slippery and spotless set of moody, jazz-heavy pieces.
It’s also probably the most accessible Flying Lotus release yet, thanks to a preponderance of vocal-driven tracks. The tribal, bass-heavy “See Thru to U” features Erykah Badu, underwater. On the slight “Electric Candyman,” which sounds as if it was taken apart with a wrench and put together with all its parts in the wrong places, the Radiohead frontman offers up a bordering-on-parody version of The Full Thom Yorke — wavery, high-voiced, ectoplasmic.
“Quiet” offers no end of great songs, like the floaty funk track “The Nightcaller” or “DMT Song,” a collaboration with Thundercat, an L.A.-based super-bassist who has long played the id to Ellison’s super-ego. It’s twinkly and trippy and, given the disc’s self-imposed constraints, weirdly free — the closest Ellison might ever come to a throwaway song.
“The Nightcaller,” “See Thru To U,” “DMT Song”