You can’t avoid thinking of Flying Lotus’s relation to the Coltranes when you listen to Until The Quiet Comes. The late Alice Coltrane—the wife of legendary avant-garde jazz musician John Coltrane and a jazz musician in her own right—is the great aunt of the Los Angeles-based producer, also known as Steven Ellison. His music has always deftly eluded categorization because it is composed of several different genres including instrumental hip-hop, psychedelic jazz, dubstep, funk and soul. He likes to describe his own sound as “beat music,” but to me this album sounds like a moody, electronic version of experimental jazz.
FlyLo’s family ties aren’t his only claim to fame. He is the founder of one of the most popular club nights in the world, L.A.’s own Low End Theory, which focuses on his brand of J-Dilla-inspired beat music and has since expanded to NYC, SF and Japan. He also created Brainfeeder, a label that focuses on instrumental hip-hop and electronic music.
Until The Quiet Comes is meant to be listened to consecutively, and it flows so well it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between songs but for the changes in guest vocalists (including Thom Yorke and Erykah Badu). Starting with “All In,” the first few songs mesh almost seamlessly in a glittering, dreamlike haze of sound effects. The cautious dubstep track “Sultan’s Request” and trippy, robotic “Putty Boy Strut” mark the peak of the album’s tempo and jolt you back to reality. From there it gently glides back down into its ghostly, ethereal vibe, weaving in psychedelic ’60s elements on “DMT Song” and ending on a slightly creepy note with fuzzy-sounding “Dream To Me.” Although he is only officially featured on “DMT Song,” previous collaborator Thundercat provides the bass throughout the album. All of the songs have a slightly distorted, off-kilter, otherwordly sound—as if FlyLo channeled them in a smoky, dimly lit room for a séance.
There is a sense of calm on Until The Quiet Comes that is especially notable when compared to his previous magnificent, slightly hectic album Cosmogramma. FlyLo allows more space for the listener to process the sounds here, and the demure vocals lightly add to the swirling, misty atmosphere he’s conjured. Although there aren’t any obvious standout hits here, that’s not what FlyLo intended to create. Instead, Until The Quiet Comes blends together into a lush electronic soundscape you can daydream to.