Flying Lotus ventures into the great unknown on Tuesday at the Tower Theater - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Photo by Timothy Saccenti

To describe Steven Ellison, better known as the Los Angeles-bred Flying Lotus, with traditional signifiers is a pretty difficult endeavor. He’s not quite a jazz artist, although his pieces smack of the heavy-concept, free-form complexity that defines that genre in the 21st century. He’s not quite a hip-hop producer, although his rhythms derive from the canon of that world’s sonic tapestry and ground performances from superstar luminaries like Kendrick Lamar. And he’s not even an electronic artist, despite his heavy use of blippy synths and membership on the genre-defining (and -redefining) Warp Records label.

Flying Lotus is something within and beyond all of these worlds, pushing his idiosyncratic brand of experimental sounds into spaces that somehow make his work both more meaningful and increasingly accessible. The aforementioned collaboration with Kendrick Lamar is but one of many on his 5th album, the epic post-mortem saga You’re Dead! (released last Tuesday on Warp), which also includes contributions from Snoop Dogg, jazz-fusion legend Herbie Hancock, and ex-Dirty Projector Angel Deradoorian. The layers to his music, a tapestry of sounds whose logic only makes sense in this context, is difficult to imagine in live settings; this makes the spectre of his upcoming Tower Theatre performance all the more exciting. For those who wish for their music to be eye-opening and wavelength-altering, this Philadelphia jaunt is certainly worth a great deal of your attention.

Flying Lotus plays the Tower Theatre on Tuesday, October 14th, with special guest (and frequent collaborator) Thundercat. Click here for tickets and more information.

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