After Jay Dee passed in February, someone pointed me to Flying Lotus’s re-creation of my favorite Dilla/Slum Village beat, “Fall in Love.” It was a beautiful update and a fitting homage to the fallen master, and it showed me right from jump that with Flying Lotus, I was dealing with more than just another beat-maker.
The title track on 1983, his debut album, has been popping up for some time now on mix shows, and it embodies everything that this record is about, with the nearly ambient bounce that producers such as Waajeed, Geology and Madlib do so well. These are not loops: They refuse to stay in one place and bubble with the warm organic feeling of being tapped or played out with ever-shifting plates of sound to prove it.
Lotus seems to take pleasure in using limited equipment — mostly keyboards, drum machines and spacey found sound samples — to craft these tracks. And although it’s brief at thirty-three minutes (not including a throwaway Daedalus remix of “1983”), he makes good use of space in creating a coherent variation on a singular sound. “Unexpected Delight,” with vocalist Laura Darlington, is the album’s clear highlight and shows how much can be done with these well-crafted but nearly blank canvases that Lotus is stretching. This album is recommended for all beat heads and people curious about the interesting things people like Carlos Nino (AmmonContact) and Georgia Anne Muldrow have been doing out in California.