Experimental electronic music doesn’t normally translate from record to a live setting, but having seen California’s Flying Lotus live multiple times I can safely say that this particular artist thrives when performing onstage. Flying Lotus is arguably the most important figure in contemporary instrumental hip hop, taking the genre beyond the foundations laid by the likes of DJ Shadow, Dilla, Madlib, etc. As head honcho of LA’s Brainfeeder records and an affiliate of LA’s infamous Low End Theory club and collective, FlyLo (aka Steven Ellison) has been at least partly responsible for all the best progressive hip hop beats of the past few years; certainly all of my personal favourite beats. I have recently discovered contemporary jazz music and I fully attribute that to Flying Lotus’ incorporation of jazz instrumentation and samples.
I have witnessed his live evolution from first seeing him at the Warehouse Project, Manchester, in 2010, where his simple show involved a small AV screen and little equipment beyond a laptop, to his storming headline show at The Troxy in 2012, which featured an incredible 3D visual show with layered screens. Musically, he has recognised the need to bring the party to his live shows, so his subtly erratic original compositions – such as ‘Until The Quiet Comes’, ‘Putty Boy Strut’ and ‘Computer Face//Pure Being’ – are expertly mixed with rap, trap, trip-hop and dubstep, everything from Jay Z and TNGHT to Portishead. Arguably the most inventive IDM producer working today and the best live electronic artist I’ve ever seen.