Essay on Production Analysis

Submitted By spicer10
Words: 2275
Pages: 10

Flying Lotus – Body of Work Steve Ellison/Flying Lotus is a L.A based multi genre producer, often referred to as “FlyLo”. His body of work spans almost 10 years with four albums and various beat tapes. The first album released “1983” wasn’t the best debut effort, with mixed reviews and a somewhat choppy composition, but clear potential was there. With the release of beat tapes such as “July Heat” on regular rotation with local DJ’s and small time rappers he began to become one of the top producers in the underground scene. But the real shift in opinion came when the second album “Los Angeles” was released that Lotus turned from an underground beat smith to fully pledged “Artist”. With the album garnering acclaim from notable music sites such as Pitchfork “Los Angeles is a big step forward for a still-young career, an album well worth revisiting years from now” The music began to speak for itself.

Los Angeles was an album, which was very different to anything coming out around the time (2006). Similarities can be drawn to Aphex Twin and more IDM based projects due to the obscure percussion and short song lengths. At 17 tracks it feels more like a canvas spread with different colours and ideas than an album, but this is its greatest strength. The artwork is an indication of what you can expect musically. A black twisted shape, stark and out of the ordinary which is subjective to each person. The artwork signifies what the record is about – the listener forms their own opinion, the music and direction isn’t forced in any way.
(Los Angeles Artwork – See fig 1)
(In the studio – See fig 2)

In the track “Aunties Lock/Infinitum” Ellison takes the melody of the famous big ben chimes – the vocal can be heard following this pattern along with the side chained Rhodes, a brilliant use of recycled sound.

“Aunties Lock/Infinitum” Sample appears at 0:11 and throughout.

“Joseph Jowett - Westminster Quarters ” Sample appears at 0:12

This is a form of sampling and probably the most common in the industry today. Borrowing melodies and musical ideas straight from another source. In some records it is incredibly noticeable and almost considered “stealing” for example, The Beach Boys most famous song “Surfin’ USA” was a clear copy of Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Like Sixteen”. In this case the sample was discreet and a great way of incorporating different sounds within a contemporary composition.

A big trend within this album and future releases from Lotus is a very natural and organic sound effected in such a way that the source material is transformed dramatically. Different from the borrowed melody in “Infinitum” Flylo displays his creativity with samples and sound manipulation here.

“Breathe/Something, Stella Star” Sample appears at 0:01

“Cinematic Orchestra – Breathe” Sample appears at 5:07

These examples add weight to the argument that each move made in the process of creating this album is well thought out and ultimately well researched. An obvious indication of musical influence is recognized when listening throughout the tracks that blend together. The effects used here are obviously extensive use of side chaining in “Infinitum” to create the “rocking” feel the song has, almost a lullaby. In the track “Breathe/Something, Stella Star” the sample has been heavily filtered using something like the auto filter within logic. The filter cut off has been reduced and the sound sits nicely as if it is an instrument being played – A sign of good sampling. Also the percussion is swung and all of the drum samples are taken from vinyl and layered with extensive EQ and distortion. This track has more of a hip-hop feel to it. The kicks are programmed in a regular fashion and the swing used is not too dramatic making it one of the more accessible tracks on the EP.

Analyzing the structure of the songs is fairly simple. As this album fits into the hip-hop instrumental spectrum most tracks are looped