Flying Lotus is a Digital Hip Hop Soul Genius

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Jul 13, 2009

It was a fifteen year old music producer from Toronto’s West end who first introduced me to the music of Steven Ellison better known as Flying Lotus. I used to surf around MySpace looking for new and interesting music and one day I logged in and found a message from someone calling himself Supertoaster. All the message said was “Am I Good?” So curiosity got the best of me and I clicked on his profile and what I heard made my jaw drop. Broken up Jazz loops with off time Hip Hop drum samples put together by a fifteen year old using Ableton live and some sample pads. His music was incredible and I had to tell him because he asked. Over time I became good friends with this kid who now goes by his real name Jesse Futerman. He once sent a track to Gilles Peterson at BBC Radio via e-mail and all Gilles got was his real name attached to the e-mail address so when he dropped the track he credited it as such. Every time I talked to him he would say “Do you know Flying Lotus?” I felt I had to check out who this amazing young producer’s influences were and I have to admit I didn’t really like what I heard at first. Then I heard a track called $tunt$ on his Shhh! E.P. and I was hooked. His reverb laced synthy Hip Hop Soul is far beyond the traditional Hip Hop sound and it’s exactly that kind of originality that sets him apart.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from FlyLo’s debut performance in Toronto on Thursday July 9th. Redbull Music Academy invited him to come and do a seminar and a show at Tattoo Rock Parlour, which incidentally has a kick ass sound system. I showed up super early. The only other person in the bar when I got there was a photographer and mymanhenri (the opening act). I didn’t think that many people were going to show up and it would resemble N.A.S.A.’s debut with only a hand full of people in the club. Boy was I wrong. People started pouring in at about 9:45 and they never stopped all night. I was really happy to see Proffessor Fingers and Steptone of iNSiDEaMiND in the crowd and managed to talk to Prof a little before the show and he was telling me that, with the growing popularity of The Beat Lounge series at The Silver Dollar Room on the first Thursday of every month, he wasn’t surprised to see this kind of reaction to, what was essentially, more of a live beat making session then a D.J. set in terms of the way producers like mymanhenri and FlyLo perform.

mymanhenri took the stage and when he dropped his first beat I knew this show was going to be special. After about three tracks he got on the mic and said “I just wanted to test out the sound system to see what it could handle.” He then asks us if wouldn’t mind some 90 BPM goodness and says “I don’t care if you don’t dance” He then proceeded to blow the crowd away with his synthy digital Hip Hop Beats and they loved every minute of it. By the time FlyLo came out you couldn’t move in the place and mymanhenri had worked the crowd in to a nice little frenzy. The crowd went bananas as they were slaughtered with original beats of all styles and tempos, from hip hop to dubstep and electro. FlyLo even managed to work in a little M.J. in his set, when he dropped “I Can’t Help It” everyone lost their shit. I had heard of people crowd surfing during D.J. sets before but, until that night, I had only ever seen it happen at a punk show

[audio:Flying Lotus – LTWRMX.mp3,Flying Lotus – Shadow.mp3,Flying Lotus – StuntS.mp3]

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