LA-based producer Flying Lotus’ work thus far has predominantly fell under the broad categorization of “beats,” a convenient sort of catch-all for hip hop-inflected electronic instrumentals. But it’s never been that simple, and his greater talents are finally given the stage they deserve on his intoxicating sixth LP.
Lotus is more George Duke than J. Dilla here, invoking the spirit of psychedelic jazz for an ambitious exploration of death, and whatever may happen after. “Tesla” sets the tone; quivering in anticipation, all jittery guitar and brisk drums, with assistance from none other than Herbie Hancock. He finds ample room for his guests — Thundercat, Snoop Dogg (revitalized on the playful funk of “Dead Man’s Tetris”), Kendrick Lamar (who finds a natural chemistry with the producer on “Never Catch Me”) among them — to shine, but never cedes control over his overall vision of a spiritual neo-jazz opus.