Just when you thought Decibel Festival couldn’t get any more dope, Flying Lotus has just been announced to perform on Thursday night September 24 at Neumos in Seattle.

Flying Lotus is more than a fearless beat scientist, innovative artist, label head, community leader and intrepid explorer of spiritual sound; he is a portal to the future of music.

Taking an eclectic, wide-brained approach, Flying Lotus’ sound includes a thick amalgamation of musical species: hip-hop, funk, IDM, jazz, dubstep, psychedelia and glitch, baked together with experimental rhythms and soulful style to create an entirely new electronic experience.

Flying Lotus isn’t just a producer, and this isn’t just music. This is mythology, a story of beats and bass, and it swirls around Flying Lotus like blunt smoke on the balcony of Low End Theory. He has introduced the infinite possibilities of jazz to a whole new era of listeners, and his soothing presence encourages the mental release necessary to join an avant-garde artist on his musical explorations.

The central figure of the Los Angeles-based Brainfeeder clan and record label, Flying Lotus is also an inspiration to an entire global community, an intimate group of heads for whom his shifty beats and elemental bass are pathways to another realm. The significance of his sound stretches as far as the inner journey that his listeners are willing to take, for Flying Lotus understands the deep connection between human beings and music. It is in this space between that the sonic shaman travels.

Lotus has been compared repeatedly to musical pioneers Aphex Twin, Madlib, Prefuse 73 and the late J Dilla, whose blunted beats lit the fire for a hip hop revolution. Mary Anne Hobbs has called Flying Lotus the “Hendrix of his generation,” and truly it is hard to overstate his effect on the current upswing of energy in electronic arts culture – or on the sounds that mainstream music fans will be listening to five years from now.

Growing up surrounded by all different types of music, Flying Lotus was encouraged by his great aunt Alice Coltrane, a respected harpist, jazz composer and spiritual teacher whose soulful roots in Detroit and soaring meditative spirit can still be heard in his sound.

An only child and an alien in his world, Flying Lotus distracted himself from the Valley-induced melancholy with comic books and video games, dabbling with the saxophone, the icon of his musical heritage. He started making beats at age 16 when his cousin and mentor Oran gave him an MC-505, and soon a school friend and current ally Dr. Strangeloop turned him onto the joys of the laptop. Flying Lotus quit film school to focus solely on making music, a media more dependent on the individual artist.

Emboldened by his mother, he sent some beats to the Adult Swim television network, which contacted him a week later. Soon FlyLo’s psychedelic sound was heard stumbling out of speakers around the nation and into the brains of a whole generation. Influenced by gangsta rap to Tchaikovsky and lemon trees to Dimethyltryptamine, Flying Lotus is a sonic cartoonist, painting vividly honest ear-dreams, rhythmic experiments drenched in a surreal beauty.

In 2006 Flying Lotus’ first full-length album 1983 dropped on Plug Research, and the artist began to conquer the world. The following year the EP Reset was released by the highly respected Warp Records, and shortly after, the rising star played a Rinse FM show with Kode9. This was a crucial moment of expansion for his sound, as the UK bass heads realized what enormous possibilities lay in the brain and beats of this LA composer.

The city has had an undeniable effect on Flying Lotus’ music; his second full-length release Los Angeles (Warp Records) in 2008 was an ode to the City of Dreams. Both the artist and his home manage to be laid-back yet earnestly passionate at the same time; his music is the sonic expression of hazy heat rising off asphalt streets, capturing the crackling energy of the city and sending it back a smarter animal. Three EPs of Los Angeles twelves were to follow, each received with critical acclaim and pushing Lotus towards the cornerstone position on the groundbreaking Warp label that he enjoys today.

His latest opus Cosmogramma (Warp Records) was one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2010; this space opera was released to a monsoon of praise and instigated talk of a “post-Cosmogramma world.” Just as the name implies, Cosmogramma is an entire universe so rich in depth it could have only come from the imagination of a man with great mental clarity, one who realizes just how short and precious this life really is.

Supremely wide in scope from the “Augmented Reality Application” to the artwork of the Codex, Cosmogramma gathered an astral family of like-minded artists to further manifest this eccentric explosion of music: Ravi Coltrane, Thunderkat, Rebekah Raff, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Laura Darlington and none other than Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, who also asked Flying Lotus to tour with his Atoms for Peace offshoot earlier this year.

With buoyant and highly improvised live sets, Flying Lotus delivers a super-sensory experience with a giant smile, diving into his imagination and taking us along for the ride. His performance is a fun and liberating adventure for everyone involved; you walk off his dance floor a better dancer, just as you come away from his albums with a more highly-evolved musical brain.

Flying Lotus is the head of the stellar Brainfeeder label and the core figure of the community of artists loosely based around Low End Theory club night in L.A., all of whom seem to reflect a different aspect of his character. The Gaslamp Killer, Teebs, Lorn, Ras G, Daedelus, SAMIYAM, matthewdavid, Tokimonsta and many more avant-garde musicians make up a family of explorers, whose weird beats are delivered raw, real and covered in the funk of modern life. Collaborating with SAMIYAM as FLYamSAM, and orchestrating a series of Brainfeeder events in Los Angeles and London, Lotus has outstretched his hand to bring a talented crew of pioneers along for the ride. Having played at live film score at the Ann Arbor Film Festival and London’s Tate Modern, it is clear that Flying Lotus’ future is boundless.

Most exciting of all is that this young, charismatic artist is nowhere near the top of his trajectory, which is as unrestrained as his music and a thrilling speculation for those on board his bent brand of electronic hip-hop. His new live band, Infinity, debuted at the Cosmogramma album party in LA and plans to release an album next year, and the waves of Brainfeeder beats just keep coming, with works from Lorn, The Gaslamp Killer and Teebs in the pipes for this autumn.

Ahead of his time and unafraid of technology, a music nerd whose abstract yet beat-centric sound inspires a global community, Flying Lotus is shaking off the dust from the planet he came from, and visiting our world to lead us on the path to the future of music. Are you ready?

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