For the past week, the Red Bull Music Academy has taken over New York City with exclusive screenings, jam-packed events, and sold out shows. Last night RBMA kept the festivities going at Terminal 5, coincidentally on Cinco de Mayo, with another sold out show featuring En2ak, Thundercat, Ultraista, and Flying Lotus. We rolled through to catch the acts do their thing, and they did not disappoint.
The show kicked off with Thundercat, a West Coast musician, beat maker, and member of Flying Lotus’ label Brainfeeder. Originally getting his start on the scene as a drummer and bass player trained in jazz and classical, Thundercat’s has gained a reputation for bringing a sound that is as eclectic as his background in music. Fans of Flying Lotus will notice Thundercat’s sound resembling the spacial, jazz-influenced melodies of FlyLo’s album “Cosmogramma,” but with a slight influence of funk.
Next up was London-based group Ultraista, comprised by Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, producer/drummer Joey Waronker, and vocalist Laura Bettinson. The group admitted to being relatively new, and was playing in New York for only their third time. Their sound has been best described as a mixture of afrobeat and krautrock, a little avant-garde at times, but with a pop influence that still made the melodies catchy.
Flying Lotus took the stage last with his intergalactic audiovisual offering dubbed “Layer 3”, and was undoubtedly the highlight of everyone’s night. He opened the show with his well-known remix of Lil Wayne’s “I Feel Like Dying,” but quickly caught the entire crowd of guard by dropping a variety of anomalous audio, which he later revealed were brand new beats. They ranged from experimental and dreamy, to downright dirty bass ridden bangers, possibly a nod to the ever-expanding trap movement. FlyLo also kept the hip-hop heads happy by intermittently rocking the stage as Captain Murphy, performing tracks like “Mighty Morphin Foreskin”, “Between Friends” (sans Earl Sweatshirt), and an unreleased track produced by Hudson Mohawke.
Overall, the show felt more like a journey through time and space than a concert. Fans of Flying Lotus will be glad to know that he’s rocking a second show tonight at Terminal 5, and believe us, you won’t want to miss it. Check out the video above to get the full story on the creation of “Layer 3.”
Text: Devin P-B / Photography: Bluntbreak