Raised on the ‘90s staples of West Coast, ‘Chronic’-era hip-hop, Cartoon Network, Nintendo, and the spiritual jazz recordings of his great aunt, Alice Coltrane, Stephen Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, has come to produce a similarly eclectic, yet unique range of ragged beats, esoteric dreamscapes, and electronic collages in the course of his decade-long career.
Going from the J Dilla influences of his 2006 debut, 1983, to the afrospiritual futurism of 2010’s Cosmogramma, and his latest free jazz exploration, 2014’s You’re Dead!, Ellison has constantly railed against convention, pushing music writers to create outlandish categorisations for his music.
His label, Brainfeeder, serves as something of an encyclopaedic record of LA beat-makers from the past decade, putting out releases from Gaslamp Killer, Daedelus, Samiyam, Jameszoo and more, and playing an instrumental role in popularising the LA beat scene in the process. Meanwhile, Ellison’s collaborative work with Thundercat, Kendrick Lamar and Kamasi Washington has placed jazz firmly back into public (youth) consciousness.
With his debut feature film, Kuso, set for release this summer (get your sick-bags at the ready), a new LP reportedly on the way, and a live set at this weekend’s Field Day in London, we’re delving into Ellison’s back catalogue for a Complete Guide to the man himself.
Read the rest of the piece in Clash Magazine.
[This piece was published on 02/06/17]