Flying Lotus’ last record, Cosmogramma, was an overstuffed orgy, a grab bag filled to the brim with all manner of sounds. It’s a fantastic record, but an exhausting one, difficult to process, and very, very busy. His new album, the coy Until The Quiet Comes, is similarly inundated with influences, but does a better job than its predecessor of weaving together the tangled strands of jazz, hip-hop beats, and psychedelic and progressive rock.
Flying Lotus appears to have learned the importance of the seamless transition. There is not a single jarring moment on the record, despite a proliferation of both pleasant and dissonant sounds. Though the clanking, catchy “Putty Boy Strut” and the smooth Erykah Badu feature “See Thru To U” appear back to back, their differences are bridged by a brief violin section, which pairs as well with the rigidity of the former as it does with the elegance of the latter. Elsewhere, on album opener “All In,” the din raised by a single reverberating, piercing note is soon alleviated by a flurry of keyboard flourishes and a shallow snare. And Thundercat (who plays bass throughout the album) contributes vocals to “DMT Song,” a ballad so tender that it takes a moment to realize it’s an ode to a hallucinogenic.
Until The Quiet Comes is so delicate that some fans who embraced the rough edges of Cosmogramma will worry that Flying Lotus has lost his love for harsh sound. And it’s true that the new record doesn’t announce its own complicated brilliance in quite the same boisterous way. But after multiple listens, the album reveals itself to be as nuanced, as subtle, and a lot more digestible than its predecessor, a sidestep into sonic territory that’s no less admirable for its comparative somnolence.