Life Found in ‘You’re Dead!’

Very rarely are established artists able to successfully live up to the hype and expectations their fans create for them.  One exception is the Los Angeles based producer and electronic artist Flying Lotus. He is able to match this hype and raise the bar from some of his previous classics like “Cosmogramma” and “Los Angeles” which really push the envelope on what a great hip-hop and electronic album can be.

Now he has come back to craft his own modern take on what a jazz album can be, and thus creates his most diverse record to date.  FlyLo’s new LP, “You’re Dead!” is a 38 minute musical exploration though experimental hip-hop, jazz and electronic styles.

Featuring big-name guest artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg, FlyLo combines his unique musical influences and sounds to create a very eclectic, personal and introspective record that also touches on themes of death and the afterlife.

The first few songs of “You’re Dead!” really set the tone for the space and grandiosity of this album. On these early tracks, such as “Theme” and “Tesla,” FlyLo delivers some great orchestral arrangements. With the aid of Herbie Hancock’s keyboard work and some free flowing jazzy styles, FlyLo weaves tons of stylistic and varied tempos. Here he smoothly combines percussions, saxophone and hip hop beats to create a very atmospheric and appealing sound.

Overall, these first few songs help build up to the dynamic middle part of this album. These include a few great standalone tracks such as “Dead Man’s Tetris,” and “Never Catch Me,” the lead single. The strength of this track is backed up by vocals from Kendrick Lamar and frequent FlyLo collaborator and bassist Thundercat.

Both tracks showcase FlyLo’s signature style of samples and great flows, with “Never Catch Me” as a hard-hitting track with of lots of great bass and percussion sounds.  Likewise “Dead Man’s Tetris” is a very energetic, funny, sample-laden song with guest rhymes by Snoop Dogg. These songs as well as the following track, “Turkey Dog Coma,” are highlights of the album with their upbeat, complex rhythms and are the three strongest tracks on the record.

The rest of the tracks represent the comedown from the records’ most vibrant songs, but they are still very reflective and melodic tracks. Possibly the most meditative tracks   off the album are “Coronus the Terminator” and “Siren Song”, which both feature very ethereal lyrics laced with riveting melodies.

The last few songs feature relaxing tracks and transitions, which lead up to an eerie and thoughtful “The Boys Who Died in Their Sleep.” Here, FlyLo throws down his own vocals as he raps over a drumming crescendo and fast paced bass-line.

The overall execution of this work is akin to much of FlyLo’s previous LP’s in that he throws a lot out there musically to digest, and transitions through beats and styles so quickly that they never draw a dull moment. What separates this album from others though is its cohesiveness and great transitions that make this his most, refined album to date. Its strength lies in the synergy of the songs and how well such diverse genres complement each other to create an emotional journey through the mind of Flying Lotus.

RECOMMENDED: For any fan of electronic music, this album can’t be missed.