Flying Lotus (Steve Ellison) comes across as gregarious and buoyant as his beats; lithe and animated on stage, the L.A. hip-hop head would be infectious even if you couldn’t hear a thing. It’s no surprise his music and personality have made him fixed point in a constantly expanding global network of creative producers, in some cases linked through the Low End Theory night and his own Brainfeeder label. He tackles more celestial connections on his new album Cosmogramma, completed in the wake of his mother’s death. Adding layers of emotional and musical complexity– including string arrangements, harp and saxophone from his cousin Ravi Coltrane– the record shows Ellison making a cathartic and creative leap, his own unique contribution to his family’s spiritual discography.
On the phone from his apartment in Echo Park, Flying Lotus spoke with Pitchfork about the genesis of Cosmogramma, being an extra in American Beauty, and Sundays with Aunt Alice.