For folks familiar with the work of Flying Lotus, a psych-horror Spoken Word video featuring David Lynch as a disfigured rabbitman seems an appropriate album announcement as any. Stephen Ellison, or Lotus, or FLYLO; a man known by multiple names through his career as a producer/director/rapper, has long been influenced by the grotesque, ostensibly taking from influences as twisted as Heaven’s Gate, Aphex Twin and Salad Fingers (the director of which, appropriately, co-directed this). “Fire is Coming” heralded Flamagara, the producer/director/rapper’s first album in almost five years, and at first glance looked to be as grisly as his 2017 gross-out film “Kuso”: a kind of obscene experiment that famously prompted festival walk-outs.
That was until these two new singles, which in comparison seem to explode with hope and abandon, like a sunrise breaking over the finale of a slasher movie. Both tracks have typical Flying Lotus drums, fidgety and frenetic, with wandering bass lines stemming from the jazz that has so long influenced his music. While Lynch’s voice was used to unnerve, “Spontaneous” uses Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano for joy and romantic yearning: “catch a flame, catch a night, catch a feeling, catch a ride with you.”
In a press release, Ellison said Flamagara is centered around a “lingering concept about fire, an eternal flame sitting on a hill”. Through this lens, “Spontaneous” is the rapturous campfire party at some kind of cosmic dance festival, with Nagano convincing us to throw our arms to the heavens and exist only in the flame. As an instrumental B-side, “Takashi” takes this energy to 100, and Ellison layers freeform synthesizers over wild drums, somehow keeping the whole thing inches from chaos.