When one explores the fringes of hip hop and wanders into its experimental realm, a monolith of that realm is multi-medium extraordinaire Flying Lotus. Flying Lotus (aka FlyLo) has delivered another experimental hip hop gem once again in 2019 with a new double LP called Flamagra and a tour that features many tracks from this album with 3D psychedelic visualizations to accompany the music.
Flying Lotus has been touring for a while now doing a one man DJ set and he brought this act to The Union in Salt Lake City on August 15, 2019. DJ sets can be difficult to engage the audience with because let’s be honest we have all been to a show where there has been a DJ that is turning knobs on a prerecorded track and it’s hard to tell that the artist is really doing anything. Therefore, I find that I am much more critical of these sorts of headliners than many other types of shows that feature an array of musicians playing different parts. This is next to impossible for FlyLo because his music is heavily produced and heavily layered with insane samples and synth lines. FlyLo has made the live listening experience unique in that he knows how to engage his audience, he throws in surprise remixes of his own tracks, the flow of every track makes it all feel like one big mixtape, and most of all he explores the strangest and most psychedelic 3D visualizations to accompany each track.
Some of the 3D visualizations include neon orange and black beetles that open their wings to uncover a human face as they crawl vertically up the wall, neon antibodies flying in your face while traveling through a giant fluorescent blood vein, and many different dreamscapes filled with beings that are reminiscent of the stories told by those that enter other realms under the influence of ayahuasca. One of the most amazing 3D landscapes was a landscape full of cyborg-human hybrids that were all moving towards a large monolithic mountain with lightning bolts and as the visualization moved closer to the mountain more and more robotic like creatures filled the landscape clamoring over each other to reach this electric mountain monolith. This 3D set featured a lot of tracks from Flamagra with a spattering of tracks from his career going back to tracks from 2011.
I realized at this show that Flamagra is meant to accompany FlyLo’s discography and add to the fluidity of other tracks performed live. A favorite song he performed was Zodiac Shit. This song was remixed then brought back smoothly to the original sound of the track. The visualizations accompanying the song were animated Chinese zodiac signs morphing into one another, reminiscent of his days on Adult Swim. FlyLo put on an encore with his most famous tracks of the past including Do The Astral Plane where the audience was jumping up and down and Flying Lotus instigated a dance off during the song. He then ended with his timeless track Never Catch Me. FlyLo also would sing and rap during songs to really get the crowd into the music and took breaks to thank the audience. He told the crowd that Salt Lake City has always held a special place in his heart, especially since Utah is the state where he got to premiere his first full length film. Flying Lotus is putting on one of the most impressive DJ sets for a wide range of music fans. This is a show that all music lovers will enjoy. I especially encourage aspiring DJs to check out his live show for inspiration on how to throw the best kind of DJ set possible. Flying Lotus still stands tall in 2019 with another unique LP release and a one of a kind audio-visual performance.
Tracks from Flying Lotus – Flamagra currently in rotation on Aggie Radio: Takashi, 9 Carrots, Debbie Is Depressed, Land Of Honey, and The Climb