On his latest project, Californian producer Steven Ellison welcomes the listener to what he describes as a “nocturnal universe, an inward journey to a new place” – a place where Ellison and his alter ego Flying Lotus are comfortable and happy to call home. The follow up to 2010’s Cosmogramma finds Fly Lo having what often sounds like a sonic tug of war with his own imagination. At times tranquil and serene, at others distorted to the point of unpleasant. If the limbo between awake and sleeping, dreams and nightmares could be expressed through music, this album might well be it. Things begin well with ‘All In’, a twinkling little track, full of chimes and bells but with enough drum kicks to put some meat on its bones.
Nicki Randa’s voice adds atmosphere and texture to ‘Getting There’ as does Laura Darlington vocal ‘Phantasm’. Her lush harmonies over the celestial backing are a rare moment of pure ambient brilliance. Elsewhere, ‘See Thru U’ (featuring Erykah Badu) is an interesting slant on future jazz, with a driving baseline and tribal beats and yet it falls short as it ends up sounding like an incomplete thought and missed opportunity. ‘Sultan’s Request’ is a dark and dingy invasion of a track which is crying out for a gravel voiced MC, but unfortunately they never appear. It gets worse. ‘Putty Boy Strut’ contains some of the most annoying sounds ever committed to record – think of a chipmunk having a seizure with hand claps thrown in and you’ll get the idea.
Yet none of this is not the main fault with Until The Quiet Comes. The record is structured more like a mix than an album, with most tracks not exceeding two and half minutes. The fundamental problem here is that the snippets are just simply too short for any single musical concept to fully develop. For someone with so much about him, it falls disappointingly short. The ideas are here, they just haven’t been allowed to grow.