Future Classics

Future Classic: Flying Lotus “You’re Dead”


Death is inevitable, though somewhat intriguing. All my life I’ve tried to understand the concept of it, what it really means. A month ago, a close friend of mine died. He was only 20 and he had an amazing life. Now he’s gone forever. I’ve never experienced something like this before and emotionally I was all over the place. I never knew what death sounded like until now. Flying Lotus‘ 5th studio LP “You’re Dead!” is that soundtrack.

The first 4 tracks off the album start off schizophrenic. Death has arrived and it’s messing with you. The drum arrangements, the jazz instrumentation as well as Thundercat’s iconic bassline provides a hectic atmosphere, somewhat uncertain and unnerving. “Tesla” is a definite highlight, displaying Flying Lotus’ love for free jazz. Herbie Hancock is on keys for this record, he is effortlessly able to create a psychotic atmosphere, in addition to Flying Lotus’ drum arrangements near the latter part of the track. While most tracks are under two minutes in length, they are condensed in the purest form imaginable. “Never Catch Me” ft Kendrick Lamar is another highlight, and as usual, Kendrick delivers a stellar verse as well as showcasing his vocal range, with Fly Lo’s explosive production.

There are darker and grittier tracks on the album such as “Dead Man’s Tetris.” Captain Murphy tributes Dilla- “Hold up, Hold Up, Me and Dilla about to blow some trees,” and Snoop Dogg delivers a great verse as well. The track as a whole seems very cartoony, with samples from various TV shows as well as Captain Murphy’s signature laugh. Speaking of vocals, the vocal deliveries from Niki Randa, Angel Deradoorian (from Dirty Projectors), Thundercat and Fly Lo himself give a very spiritually haunting yet calming effect. The merging of the vocals between Niki Randa and Fly Lo himself on “Coronus, The Terminator” was perfect. The second half of the album provided a slightly moodier type atmosphere yet still preserving the dynamics of the first half. “Moment of Hesitation” is an emotional roller-coaster, with Herbie playing keys ferociously and menacingly over Fly Lo’s unsettling drum rhythms. A true jazz masterpiece.

While the whole album is dynamic and agitating to listen to at times, it ends rather peacefully. “Your Potential // The Beyond” features absolutely beautiful vocals from Niki Randa, and the ambient evolution of this track and the last track “The Protest” puts the album to a peaceful death. “We will be gone, forever.” While those lyrics are sad and depressing, they are quite fitting for an album titled “You’re Dead!” The album was put to rest with 10 perfect seconds of silence, the real sound of death. The album slowly evaporates into heaven, putting this album to sleep.

Not only is this album one of Flying Lotus’ greatest achievements, but to me one of the best conceptual experimental albums I’ve ever listened to. Every single detail is done to perfection. Every single emotion was expressed in this album. It’s spiritual, melancholic, unnerving, beautiful. It’s an organised chaos that is done to absolute perfection.

Thank you Fly Lo. Thank you.

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Martin Boev

Martin Boev

Based in London, I run 'In Search Of Media', a platform for musicians, filmmakers and artists all over the world to showcase their projects, while giving a platform for new discoveries.