Flying Lotus and the Brainfeeder Stable Deliver Pleasure to the Ears

June 21st, 2011

Flying Lotus – The Bowery Ballroom – June 20, 2011

There is what ears are and there is what ears are capable of being. They are organs connected to neural pathways, vehicles for sound. And what they are capable of being is gateways to the divine, messengers for humanity’s greatest gift: music. Those who honor music know its power. Production, with a mind toward the eternal, creates truth, universally recognizable and intoxicatingly beautiful. And ears, fixed upon truth, tap into a boundless well of pleasure.

With a deep interest in sound, both its production and consumption, Brainfeeder’s traveling showcase descended on The Bowery Ballroom last night, attracting a sold-out crowd with sets from the record label’s growing stable of artists. Brainfeeder “began by Flying Lotus,” and the Los Angeles producer’s unique aesthetic guides and unifies the label. His latest album, Cosmogramma, is a veritable masterpiece, merging jazz, hip-hop and electronic music. And Brainfeeder artists, whether subtly or overtly in the case of opener Teebs inserting a segment of Cosmogramma into his mix, see this album as their mission statement.

Flying Lotus, joined by jazz keyboard prodigy Austin Peralta and budding bass phenomenon Thundercat, appeared late into the night. When the trio relaxed into a groove, the result captured the spirit of J Dilla meeting acid jazz. But even though Flying Lotus is one to pay homage to greats, he also embraces his own identity—weaving Lil Wayne remixes among original works and a silly song about DMT. Never mind his oft-repeated half-apology, “I have no idea where I’m going with that shit.” After four hours of incredible, largely improvised music from the Brainfeeder collective, spontaneity and creativity were pleasure to the ears. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg