Music

"You're Dead!" - Flying Lotus [Official Full Album Stream + Zumic Review]

Brad Bershad

by Brad Bershad

Published October 09, 2014

With You're Dead!, Flying Lotus has created a sonic tour de force. The album is a metaphysical journey, with lush production that tickles the earbuds and excites the mind.

The You're Dead! concept is pretty loose, which is completely appropriate to the subject matter. There's a sense of spirituality and mystery relating to life and death that cannot be explained with words, but comes through in the music. Like most experimental music, it's not going to hit home with a mainstream popular audience -- and that's fine. Flying Lotus shared his thoughts about it on Twitter:

Clocking in at 38 minutes and 15 seconds, the album may be self-indulgent but more importantly it is an efficient and cohesive work of art. Most of the tracks are shorter than 2 minutes, which is true to FlyLo's previous albums. These short, exploratory tunes flow into each other without getting boring or tired. There's tension and release, as beats and melodies interweave and set each other up.

Much like Miles Davis' great albums, Flying Lotus has created not just an album but an experience unlike anything that had previously existed. It incorporates elements of jazz, rock, hip hop, electronic, and classic music -- and yet, it transcends any of those labels.

Straight from the beginning of You're Dead!, we're treated to a sequence of 4 instrumental tracks that lead up to the album's featured single, "Never Catch Me" with Kendrick Lamar. The opening, "Theme," is an ambient tension builder that shows mastery of the jazz-rock fusion idiom that blossomed in the '70s. This is followed by "Tesla" which sounds very much like a sped-up version of Miles Davis' "Shhh / Peaceful" from his 1969 In A Silent Way album. Herbie Hancock (who played on that Miles album, in addition to serving as his main piano player from '63 to '68 and continuing to record with him until '74) contributes keyboard parts here. "Cold Dead" and "Fkn Dead" are short tracks that continue the progression of hard rockin' experimental jazz.

"Never Catch Me" is a song that sounds good as a single, but great in the context of the album. This is followed by "Dead Man's Tetris" which features FlyLo taking on his rap persona of Captain Murphy, rapping alongside the king of Los Angeles rap, Snoop Dogg. Earl Sweatshirt contributed to the track, and we can hear the weirdo rap influences in the beat from J. Dilla to Odd Future.

The middle of the album has some fantastic slow grooves. The string of 4 songs, "Stirring," "Coronus, the Terminator," "Siren Song," and "Turtles," are the easiest part of the album to listen to. The textures are lush and the rhythms are very smooth, juxtaposing nicely against the more jarring songs that come before and after.

"Ready err Not" begins a sequence of songs that become darker and more dissonant, culminating in "Descent Into Madness" and "The Boys Who Died in Their Sleep." Then, there is a sense of mighty power that seems to take over in "Obligatory Cadence" and "Your Potential / The Beyond" as "The Protest" closes things out with an uplifting feeling as voices sing, "We will live on forever," repeatedly.

When the album was officially released on October 7th, Flying Lotus live-tweeted his thoughts about the album as he listened to it. Among the things that he had to share, perhaps most important is the fact that Thundercat (aka Stephen Bruner) was heavily involved in the album's production. We also get details about the involvement of numerous contributors like Kamasi Washington, Herbie Hancock, Brandon Coleman, Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, Snoop Dogg, Joker, Miguel, Brendon Small, Jeff Lynne, Niki Randa, Mac Miller, Angel Deradoorian, and FKA twigs. Additionally, Flylo shared inspirations ranging from Brian May and Queen to the movie Fantastic Planet.

Here's what he had to say about the song "Obligatory Cadence" on Twitter, which gives insight to the concept that didn't make the final album cut:

You can order You're Dead! on vinyl, CD, and MP3 through Amazon.com.

For Flying Lotus' latest music, news, and tour dates, check out his Zumic artist page.

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Electronic Fusion Hip Hop Jazz Earl Sweatshirt Flying Lotus Herbie Hancock Kendrick Lamar Miguel Snoop Dogg Thundercat Full Album Stream Los Angeles, CA LP Angel Deradoorian Brandon Coleman
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