When Until The Quiet Comes drops today, Flying Lotus fans and listeners will suck their thumbs again when they try to describe what he sounds like. It’s impossible to summarize how his music hits your ears, so don’t f*cking bother. Maybe the best way to think about the man is to ask yourself, “what does his music make me feel like?” A uterus gurgling in placenta juice? The Alien?
Any answer works because that’s how you speak about someone who creates mind-f*cks for beats so eccentric even Neal Cassady flattens under their immense weight. You can use a similar approach to possibly critique songs as lush as “Tiny Tortures” or the drum kit belches of “Getting There.” Whereas beat-making contemporaries like Araabmuzik go for the jugular, Flying Lotus drips his production upon listeners like acid rain showers from some post-Kid A Krypton. Kind of like how the aforementioned songs and the jittery electronic bleeps and bass of “Putty Boy Strut” make you feel ethereal, or something.
Like his two previous LPs in 2010’s Cosmogramma and 2008’s Los Angeles, Until The Quiet Comes is a Gestaltist work. The individual songs lead to a greater appreciation of the whole. The guest spots, when they sporadically appear, are frequent FlyLo collaborators like Thom Yorke and Thundercat, but their voices and lyrics provide nothing but some sort of forlorn sensation.
But unlike the jazzy Cosmogramma or skittering Los Angeles, Flying Lotus finds a middle ground between the two sounds, running through transitions with fanatical multi-instrumentalism and Hip-Hop panache. Actually he soars through them. He takes “The Nightcaller,” what might be the most dance-friendly track of the album, and drops it off into the creeping bloat of “Only If You Wanna.”
So how do you feel at this point? Description only breaches the iceberg’s tip but unspeakable feeling hits at the whole number. There are some bumpy parts. Sure, “Only If You Wanna” is extremely uncomfortable if, like me, your first listen occurs in a dark living room while a rat scurries across the kitchen tile. Yet those downsides don’t deter people from listening to the album in the first place.
You can of course say that any album makes a listener feel something. However, even dissecting an Animal Collective album could make you think, “gee, this sounds like summertime!” With Flying Lotus and Until The Quiet Comes it’s all about the feel. Don’t sweat the comparisons.