“Yo, who's that guy everybody's lined up for?” asked this tall dude with Beats by Dre headphones, nodding at the swelling crowd around the Warp Records booth. I'd been at the Brooklyn Flea Record Fair for a couple hours and was a bit buzzed on Bitches Brew, but the question snapped me back to lucidity. “That's Flying Lotus, man!” I said. “He's signing his new LP Until the Quiet Comes.” I believe I dropped the adjective “dope” multiple times here.
As winds across the Williamsburg Waterfront concluded NYC's Indian summer, the arrival of Flying Lotus (né Steven Ellison) signaled the Cali producer's brief local residency, which includes a Terminal 5 show Sunday night and a Brainfeeder “takedown” on East Village Radio this afternoon. Basking in the man's broken-beat aura was a sublime bookend to an afternoon spent navigating the record fair's creamy nougat center withinSmorgasburg.
Moving away from NYC last year was rough, but rarely have I felt it so acutely as the walk on N 6th away from Bedford Ave, where the population of black-garbed Brooklyn girls — some in heels, more in skinny jeans, most sporting 12”-sized tote bags — increased tenfold. Couple that with Dogfish Head on tap at the barrel-bordered SmorgasBar, and I realized I'd landed in a specific sort of nirvana.
If I hadn't sent a Brooklyn Bangers weißwurst to my gullet like a scrumptious lead luftballon, I would've hit Yuji Ramen, where chef Haraguchi-san and crew concocted uni mazemen (sea urchin roe in dry-mixed ramen) assembly-line style. I'd pledged to remain sober for the first half of my record fair visit; besides, it's hard to juggle a notepad and a beer while digging through crates of LPs.
As the day progressed, rotating DJs segued from the Rolling Stones' “Get Off Of My Cloud” to Kraftwerk's “Boom Boom Tschak.” Clutching another cup of Bitches Brew, I mulled over the re-released Eraserhead Original Soundtrack (I.R.S.) at Sacred Bones and the rare stuff at Mondo Kim's: from Willie Hutch's Foxy Brown (Motown) to Squarepusher's caffeinated breakbeat Big Loada (Nothing/Warp). “Hey man, you see any dub?” one Kim's employee asked another, gesturing to a customer. “He's looking for dub.”
Now that's more like it, man. Flying Lotus would approve.
Images courtesy the author