Arriving half way through Lapalux, due to the Troxy’s fierce security policy, the sound that greets us is a series of footwork contortions and morse code beats that is over all too soon. The next act, Thundercat, arrived on stage clad in space samurai gear and proceeded to resurrect the ghost of Miles Davis’ fusion-funk period in a set of astoundingly accomplished bass playing and Zawinhul/Hancock indebted synth wibble. Even as a fan of avant-jazz, I’ve always been a bit uncomfortable with long onanistic electric bass solos; Thundercat left me feeling a bit dirty because I really enjoyed it.
What followed was an interminable period of wire fiddling and scratched heads. A friend at the gig decided to take matters into her own hands by going out for a cigarette, so, inevitably, Flying Lotus then instantly kicked things off with a bellowed "London, motherfuckers!” and so commenced one of the best live electronica sets I’ve ever seen. The most noticeable element of Flying Lotus’ live act, aside from its awesomeness, is the compression he submits his usual full-spectrum sofware-jazz to. Gone were the digressions and interludes which have become his signature style on recent releases like Cosmogramma and Until the Quiet Comes and, in their place, are precision cut breaks, digital noise, bends-inducing bass plummets and a tour around some very current dubstep: Two Fingers, Baauer, and not so current hip-hop: Intergalactic by the Beastie Boys was dropped near the end to the deep joy of another friend. This wasn’t the kind of set that seduces an audience; it had an air-raid ‘shock and awe’ quality which would have been either stunning or intimidating depending on taste. The visual display accompanying the music was beautifully realized and complemented the ear-assault that Flying Lotus ripped out of his equipment.
The kind of gig that sends you into the night with your nerves buzzing is rare; this was one of those nights.