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Coachella 2012: Flying Lotus thrills the Gobi Tent

April 15, 2012 |  2:40 am


This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.

One of the best hours of the festival, and my musical year, was from 9 to 10 p.m. at the Gobi Tent, where Los Angeles beatmaker Flying Lotus pushed forth a set of deconstructed, heavy-duty bass music -- while a big inflatable green alligator bounced around atop the crowd. Lotus' work as a beat producer has pushed the genre in fantastic new directions, and over the last three years he's moved from L.A. warehouse parties into an ever-expanding worldwide fan base.

And with good reason: Live, he's magnetic, bouncing before his computer and tabletop mixer and interface, creating on-the-fly remixes and freakazoid juxtapositions. His beats flow, but he's got no problem going cockeyed  -- shattering a hard boom-bap run with sonic detritus, then abruptly shifting gears, dropping down to half-time and throwing the crowd for a loop.

At one point, he sampled an a capella version of -- of all things -- Christopher Cross' yacht rock classic "Sailing," which he then destroyed with digital feedback. The peak was when he kicked out Jay-Z and Kanye West's already-classic "... in Paris," the rags to riches explosion, which he remixed into choppy/screwy confusion.

COACHELLA 2012 | Full coverage

He did the same for Tyler, the Creator's "Yonkers," a tacit shoutout to a few of the guys in Odd Future -- Taco, Mike D, and Earl Sweatshirt -- who were standing on benches near the pit. The latter, Earl, recently returned from boarding school in Somoa, and his presence at Coachella got him a lot of high-fives from nearby fans, even if he has not yet taken to the stage this year.

Mid-set, Lotus offered a few new tracks, and announced to the crowded Gobi Tent that his new record would come out in September, and -- if I understood correctly -- will be called "Till the Quiet Comes." These new songs saw Lotus pushing even further away from his comfort zone, freeing himself from the constraints of locked-in structure. But then, musical boundaries aren't something that Lotus has had problems pushing in the past. 

[For the record: 8:00 a.m. April 15: A previous version of this post stated that Earl Sweatshirt was a participant at Coachella, but so far that has been as a spectator only, and he is not scheduled to perform as part of the festival.]


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-- Randall Roberts @liledit

Photo: The nighttime scene Saturday on the Empire Polo Field at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio. Credit: Christopher Polk / Getty Images for Coachella