Posted by: martinworster | June 10, 2010

91. FLY LO DEMOGRAPHICS

I had a scary moment whilst at a gig for Flying Lotus at LA’s Echoplex. I was watching the warm up act – DJ Gas Lamp Killer – doing this thing whilst helped by MC Gonjasufi. Everyone around me seemed to be enjoying it. Raising their fists as the beats cascaded, yo’ing and bo’ing to the ryhmes of the MC. But I just wasn’t feeling it. Then it dawned on me. I was at least ten years older than the average punter. I was clearly not core demographic. Maybe I am just too old for this shit?

I mean I’m nearly forty. Forty. I am nearly forty. FORTY! I have to keep repeating it to myself to believe it. I. Am. Nearly. Forty. It’s a scary mantra. I mean it’s not really old, especially in todays mixed up world where it’s okay to skateboard into your fifties and rave to the grave. But, I ain’t the spring chicken that I used to be. I look at my profile – shadows of extra chins and belly paunch haunt me. So much so I’ve considered liposuction and a neck tuck. Nipped and tucked.

So I’m surrounded by 20 something hipsters who clearly are having the time of their lives to Gas Lamp Killer – who I guess is ‘killing it’ (geddit, I’m down wid the ghetto yout). I like the name. He’s an MP3 DJ like all the whipper snappers. His schtick is psych rock beats mixed in with ethic chants whilst head banging with his massive Freak brothers hair-fro – never a whole song played, just snippets, breaks and dramatic chords, a vocal refrain. DJ soundbites, perfect for todays attention deficit Facebookers and YouTubers. I’m old skool, I do prefer more of a song structure – a groove to get into, something that lasts more than 30 seconds. Something with a narrative, beats that chug along. I think it’s more respectful to what the artist was trying to make – at least hear a few minutes of the song they created.

And then there was the MC Gonjasufi. I actually thought he was one of the worst I’d ever seen. He looked cool, trucker cap resting on matted dreads. He danced around and asked for people to ‘make some noise’ at the right time (when it was quiet). But he had no flow, no lyrical dexterity, didn’t really say anything. Well he did start rapping ‘fuck British Petroleum, Fuck British Petroleum’ – and he’s right. Although I would have preferred it if he had just referred to it as BP so as not to feel so conspicuous.

But I was really here to see the main act Mr Lotus. Flying Lotus is the LA based beatmaker signed to Warp Records and is widely revered in the world of electronica. His music, whilst totally unique, takes it’s cues from deep house, dub step, glitch, soundtrack and jazz. It’s largely free of typical song structures, eschewing conventional melodies and verse chorus tropes to be more 3D soundscapes, very atmospheric and other worldly. The boy is talented. So much so that Thome Yorke offers his vocals the latest album.

It was good to see him on home his home turf – make some noise LA. Or don’t, as generally the crowds here are very subdued. The USP of the night was that Lotus was doing a ‘live’ set. This turned out to be musicians jamming directed by Lotus. From what I gathered the music bared little resemblance to Lotus’s new album. It’s hard to replicate the soundscapes with live instruments. Ravi Coltrane was excellent on sax – helps being related to John Coltrane (as is Lotus, his nephew). 

This was followed by Lotus jamming on his lap top. Pounding the room with bass and percussion, scratch samples and post-rave keys. It was very good. It’s great to see electronic music going from strength to strength, spear headed by LAs very own Flying Lotus.

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