When it was released back in 2008, Flying Lotus's debut album for Warp, Los Angeles was instantly heralded as an instant classic of the blossoming electronic beat scene, from a rare 5/5 review for Resident Advisor to an 8.5 on Pitchfork, Los Angeles saw Flying Lotus raise the benchmark to levels so high, others in his field still have not surpassed it even to this day.
Los Angeles' mix of crunchy, sunbaked beats was at once familiar to the realms of hip-hop junkies who would head straight to the more left-field instrumental gear of artists such as Daedelus, Madlib & J Dilla. Yet also created a cross over appeal that was also synonyms with the burgeoning dubstep scene that was a the time, having its parameters widely expanded by artists such as Martyn, Zomby, Hudson Mohawke, Kode9 and Burial.
From the albums tastiest moments such as Beginners Falafel, FlyLo gifted some sci-fi mysticism to his cities scene while GNG BNG crossed the sampladelic fuzz guitar sound of Finders Keepers with some properly big break drums.
Yet the highlight for us has to be Camel - a track that left a loop of 'If you, if you, if you.. could say... something' playing over and over in many a mind long after the album had finished rotating. While the decade that has followed has seen Flying Lotus bring along his entire crew with his Brainfeeder imprint, Los Angeles was noted for very few collaborations. Yet the ones that featured were truly jaw-dropping. From the stoned stroll through the city streets beside Dolly on RobertaFlack - which is surely one of the greatest fuzzy headed RNB tracks ever made - to the sheer bliss ambient pulse of Auntie's Lock/Infinitum that featured the spellbinding vocals of Laura Darlington in full effect. While future Warp signee Gonjasufi gave some soulful funk vocals to Testament.
It's hard to listen back now to Los Angeles, ten years since its release and not feel struck by the unique freshness of the album. FlyLo's mixtape-style approach melted all manner of mysticism, samples and live instruments with just the right amount of that hip-hop (purple) haze to craft one of the truly classic hip-hop albums of his generation.
Still to this day, no one has quite captured the sun-drenched sound of LA in a single record quite like FlyLo.