Notes on Flying Lotus’ You’re Dead!

mensah header“I knew when I set out to make this record,” Flying Lotus tweeted on October 7, 2014—release day for his album Youre Dead!— “I’d lose some people with the concept but I didn’t do this shit to be crowd pleasing.”

Next tweet, “What ever happens, I know I did what I set out to do.”

Next tweet, “with minor heartbreaks.”

Artists die all the time. Every day. Every second creation occurs, or is even considered. To live is to die, to create is to experience death: death of an idea, death of pure imagination jammed through that meat-grinder we call “reality,” death of the best intentions, the best visions, renditions inside the mind.

What is conjured up here—the writer points at his cranium—will never make it unfurled and unfettered onto the surface, call it canvas, paper, slab, tablet, touchscreen, glasswork, guitar, sitar, sitting posed on a stool poised and positioned as part of performance art.

This is why in all our fables and religions, the creation of our homeworld seems grandiose and unfathomable when weighed against human endeavor, the frailty of human ingenuity, the fault of our creative powers. The Earth, if we let Jesus freaks tell it, was created, and currently exists, as it was intended. No mistakes. But what is a world without mistakes? What is artistry without minor heartbreak, without tiny heart failures?

056I’m listening now to Youre Dead! refusing to be lost as I absorb the concept. This album is death. This album died a million times to make it to my ears. This album conjures ghosts. Alice Coltrane comes to mind, to the surface, the bars Kendrick Lamar rapid-fire-raps on “Never Catch Me,” the keys on “Tesla,” powered by Herbie Hancock.

A former girlfriend from a dead relationship put me on to Flying Lotus. Back in 2012. I had just arrived to Brooklyn. We were lovers. We died a million times just to make it to the end. And here we are, separated.

But that’s old news left behind before the fusion technique. Since, I’ve quit smoking, quit drinking soda, quit whining, quit hiding in the house, behind a screen, behind impersonal essays. It’s a love season now. And here I am, in Bushwick. My stop off the Brooklyn-bound L train is near a dead-man’s land, a dead zone, the cemetery of the evergreens. I am here. And there you are, the reader. Here, we gather.

Flying Lotus tweeted about the final song of the album, “‘The Protest’. Is the most important statement of the record. It’s the spirits gathered. Remembering we never die”

Next tweet, “Our influence lives on forever. Our love lives on forever.”

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