Flying Lotus Turns Down the Volume


Before musician Steven Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, can compose, he collects. “I try to spend a day building up my arsenal of sounds—vinyl, sounds of the room, other musicians,” he says. His dissonant, chaotic sonicscapes (Ellison reluctantly calls the music “electronic hip-hop”) have earned him fans turned collaborators, like Erykah Badu and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. The L.A.-born nephew of jazz artist Alice Coltrane, he performs regularly at the Low End Theory, the groundbreaking club held every Wednesday at the Airliner, a lounge in Lincoln Heights. This month he releases his fourth album, Until the Quiet Comes, a restrained follow-up to the helter-skelter of 2010’s Cosmogramma. “I wanted to think of it more minimally,” says Ellison. “I wanted to let the moment breathe.” The result, driven by syncopated, cross-rhythmic beats, taps into street art aesthetics. “The atmosphere and the pace of the city, it all hits us,” he says. “It makes the tempo what it is. It makes the melodies what they are. It sounds like L.A.”

ALSO: See which spots top Ellison’s list of local favorites