- ‘Tis the season of giving — UAB launches holiday blood drive
- How a cybersecurity expert protects his smartphone
- ASC presents Take 6, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Dec. 15
- Leeth named UAB School of Medicine assistant dean for strategic planning
- Coping with holiday grief
- New water plan saves big money
- Campus police offer holiday safety tips
- Alys Stephen Center Screens Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
- Hospital feeds underprivileged new moms
- UAB’s Alys Stephens Center presents Yo-Yo Ma Dec. 6
- Southern Miss tops Blazers, 62-27, in season ending game
- Henry Panion selected for 2014 Alabama African-American History Calendar
- Enjoy Christmas at the Alys Dec. 2, “The Season’s First Jingle”
- Engineering’s Ning wins ASTM International award
- Collat School of Business unveils sign at celebration
Music: Flying Lotus and the Dental Drill
The title may look like the beginning of a really interesting children’s play. However, Stephen Ellison, better known as Flying Lotus (or Captain Murphy, if you want to get fancy) has been taking over the experimental genre of music since his first release, 1983, in 2006. His music lies in a sea of samples, with bass heavy grooves, and yes, dental drill noises.
Flying Lotus has since released four albums, the latest being Until the Quiet Comes, which was released last year.
Usually, the sound of a dental drill isn’t too appealing, but somehow, buried in the sea of samples backed by jazz beats and screeching sounds, a real piece of art exists. It may take a bit of auditory digging to reach it, but it’s definitely there. His music has been used within several different mediums, from bumper music in between the shows and commercial breaks on Cartoon Network’s programming block Adult Swim, to having his own radio station within the recent release of Grand Theft Auto V. His music creates the imagination of what might be flowing through the speakers if it was actually possible to cruise through space. Trust me on this analogy.
His music isn’t a joke, but when first approaching it, I’d highly recommend an open mind and a little bit of personal rhythm. The beat may be tough to find with your ears, but when you find it, the music will have you swaying.
But about that dental drill, why is it such an important aspect of the music?
It holds special significance, especially for those well versed in finding the origins of sampled music, especially within hip hop. Usually, with the hip hop tradition, samples have origins within the music that the artist’s parents listened to, including funk, soul, and jazz music. While this does appear in Flying Lotus’ music due to the influence of his musical family (he has ties to both John Coltrane and Diana Ross), he takes an extreme leap with the use of train whistles and, yes, dental drills. This, coupled with beats that could easily pass as hip hop beats, creates a unique experience for any listener looking for something remotely different from the radio standard.
He pairs his art with the creative styles of bassist Stephen Bruner, or Thundercat, who provides full sheets of notes that gives a technical yet curious sound to the music. It seems as if, much like Flying Lotus, he is trying to reach a new height of skill that has not necessarily been tapped in any other genre of music. Together, these two create music that most certainly carries the weight of jazz’s past, while continuously experimenting with the future of music on a space galaxy-esque adventure.