Steven Ellison (b. October 7, 1983), better known as Flying Lotus (sometimes abbreviated as FlyLo), is an American producer, musician, DJ, rapper, and filmmaker based in Los Angeles.
While he first began releasing work in 2005 (quite straightforward if slightly off-kilter instrumental Hip-Hop with explicit J Dilla influence), he would gain widespread recognition for his work from the late 2000s to early 2010s. This work is arguably some of the most famous to be attached to the "wonky" genre, a mix of hip-hop with dubstep and IDM elements. His music also became known for its aesthetic focus on psychedelia and spirituality (likely a byproduct of Ellison's direct relation to Alice and John Coltrane) and intricate, futuristic sound design, giving his work an unparalleled sense of character.
Aside from this, this era of his music has also become quite synonymous with [adult swim], as it was used on a noticeable basis for their bumpers. Around the time the opportunity for him to submit music first opened, he had a day job interning at Stones Throw Records, while he spent his nights working on what would become his debut album, 1983, which would release in 2006. He signed with Warp Records the next year, and became one of the label's cornerstone artists shortly afterwards, even founding the indie record label Brainfeeder.
However, he would go on to widen his artistic horizons, with his 2012 album Until the Quiet Comes initiating a shift in interest towards jazz, and run-ins with artists like Odd Future and Shabazz Palaces inspiring him to commit to established hip-hop work. It was also around this time that a villainous animated rapper-cum-cult enthusiast named Captain Murphynote mysteriously surfaced, inciting mass press speculation (centered squarely around the OF crew) as to the Captain's identity. This culminated in November, with the release of his mixtape/short film Duality, and the Captain's first live show several weeks after. While he took the stage in a mask and cloak, he eventually unveiled himself, revealing to the world that he was in fact Ellisonnote .
Ellison would later take on a new form of expression by announcing Brainfeeder's branching into films in 2016, with the division's first main release being a film of Ellison's own co-writing and direction (although he's credited simply as "steve"): Kusonote , an anthology film about the mutant survivors of an earthquake that destroys Los Angeles.
- 2006 - 1983
- 2008 - Los Angeles
- 2010 - Cosmogramma
- 2012 - Until the Quiet Comes
- 2012 - DuΔlity — mixtape/film collage as Captain Murphy
- DuΔlity Deluxe Edition — The mixtape divided into tracks, along with a bonus track (his version of TNGHT's "Shake Weight")
- 2013 - Ideas+drafts+loops mixtape
- 2014 - You're Dead!
- 2019 - Flamagra
- Animated Music Video: "Video" might be a stretch, but each song he's put out so far has been accompanied by a short, animated clip.
- Early-Bird Cameo: As an overlooked clue to Captain Murphy's true identity, his signature Evil Laugh can be heard several times through Flying Lotus's "Cosmogramma".
- Eldritch Abomination: A video released by Adult Swim implies he has become this.
- Evil Laugh: One sampled from somewhere has shown up on every song he's yet released. One of Mark Hamill's (as The Joker) gets sampled on "Killing Joke" as well.
- Evil Sounds Deep: And how. He uses a pitch-shifter to change the pitch of his voice up and down, but it's usually deep enough to qualify for this. Sometimes the inverse is used as well.
- Faux-To Guide: DuΔlity is partly about how to become a cult leader. Disturbingly, it seems to be sampled from a real how-to on the same subject.
- Motormouth: Parodied in "Mighty Morphin' Foreskin", he sounds like he's going to launch into a fairly standard fast-rap verse, but it quickly degenerates into gibberish.
- Once an Episode: His laugh, see Evil Laugh above.
- Sampling: Constantly. Some sources include The Simpsons, Street Fighter, and a documentary on cult leaders. And that's just "Mighty Morphin' Foreskin".
- Secret Identity: Captain Murphy is this. Confirmed as of November 29th, 2012.
- Virgin Sacrifice: The end of "The Ritual".