When it comes to anticipated 2012 albums, Flying Lotus’ Until the Quiet Comes is right up there at the top of the list, setting the bar mighty high for this followup to his 2010 Cosmogramma breakthrough. So rather than make the ballsy move of reinventing his framework, the beatsmith born Steven Ellison has played it safe, expanding, evolving and edging forward the now familiar FlyLo sound.
Until the Quiet Comes is perhaps the most logical followup ever, often playing out like Cosmogramma: The Sequel. This means we get a repeat serving of sounds, where IDM, bass music, dubstep and a million other electronic subgenres collide headfirst with avant-garde classicism, soundtrackisms and, especially, jazz.
And we again get some guest vocalists thrown into the mix, such as the ever-soulful Erykah Badu popping up on “See Thru to U” and Thom Yorke making a repeat appearance for “Electric Candyman,” sounding surprisingly sexy as he tells you to “say my name.” And while these vocal appearances aren’t always album standouts, they do help give the scatterbrained proceedings some needed shape — something this album could use more of.
After all, FlyLo crams in a whopping 18 tracks into 46 minutes, meaning the record jumps from one idea to the next at a rapid-fire pace. If there’s a bone to pick with the album, it’s that many of the tracks feel like simple transitional devices and only the beginnings of ideas. It would have been nice to hear FlyLo flesh out and develop some of these songs further instead of just continuously moving on to the next one.
Without question, Until the Quiet Comes is an adventurous record, but it would be a stretch to call it a clear-cut winner over what has come before.