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Flying Lotus

You’re Dead

(Warp Records)


Flying LotusAlmost every time the great Amer­ic­an jazz trum­peter Miles Dav­is released an album, it was worlds apart from his last work. And yet, while he con­tin­ued to explore, innov­ate and elev­ate for the major­ity of his career, regard­less of how it shif­ted or developed, you always had the sense you were listen­ing to his music.

Over the last six years, it’s been a sim­il­ar story with Fly­ing Lotus, the cel­eb­rated star of Los Angeles’ vibrant mod­ern beat music scene. 2010’s Cos­mo­gramma was a space opera of epic pro­por­tions, and 2012’s Until the Quiet Comes a deeply psy­che­del­ic explor­a­tion of the inner mind (or world with­in). Fit­tingly, hav­ing already invest­ig­ated the intern­al and the extern­al, 2014’s You’re Dead sees Fly­ing Lotus look­ing bey­ond the mor­tal coil.

Where The Hax­an Cloak explored the jour­ney into the after­life through bleak min­im­al sound­scapes and pun­ish­ing sub-bass, Fly­ing Lotus uses 1970s jazz-fusion as a launch­pad, reima­gin­ing the geni­us of that era through his own beat-makerly frame. Sup­por­ted by a cast of vocal­ists and musi­cians that includes Herbie Han­cock, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, Thun­der­cat and our own Kim­bra, he cre­ates a con­cise and power­ful cycle of songs destined to help redefine the bench­marks for pro­gress­ive elec­tron­ic music. You’re Dead is one of the albums of the year.


Leonard Cohen

Popular Problems

(Sony Music)

  Leonard Cohen

How is it that Leonard Cohen’s voice just gets bet­ter with age? Dis­reg­ard­ing the bad MS Paint-style cov­er art, Pop­u­lar Prob­lems, the great Cana­dian rock poet’s 13th stu­dio album, finds him in the same fine form that char­ac­ter­ised his geni­us run dur­ing the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Now 80, Cohen’s latest opus sees him artic­u­lat­ing his lucid rumin­a­tions on con­flict and war through lan­guid prose, while the weight of sex, love and spir­itu­al­ity hangs heavy around the edges. Set against a smoky back­drop of horns, organs, female back­ing vocals and strident drums, it’s a mas­ter­piece of rhyme and mean­ing, ten­sion and release.



Art Official Age/Plectrumelectrum

(Warner Music)




When you read through much of the crit­ic­al dis­course around Prince’s two new albums, it’s hard to tell wheth­er review­ers are really excited about The Purple One’s new songs, or just happy to hear his flam­boy­ance on record again.

Art Offi­cial Age sees him con­struct­ing an egal­it­ari­an synth-funk space opera with assist­ance from pro­du­cer Joshua Welton. Plec­trumelec­trum is an exer­cise in funk rock played along­side band mem­bers he headhunted off You­Tube. While they aren’t essen­tial releases, com­mit­ted Prince fans will want to explore both. Per­son­ally, I’m wait­ing on that Purple Rain 30th anniversary reissue.