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In impressive 3-D set, Flying Lotus breaks the fourth wall at FYF Fest

Flying Lotus performs at FYF Fest. (Emma McIntyre / Getty Images / FYF)
Flying Lotus performs at FYF Fest. (Emma McIntyre / Getty Images / FYF)

It would be hard for Flying Lotus to make anything as terrifyingly visceral on a stage as he did in his movie "Kuso." That film almost defies description in its litany of body horrors. But he did his best to reach out and mangle audience's minds during his night-closing set at FYF Fest on Friday.

When FYF-goers opened their ticket packages, a pair of FlyLo-branded 3-D goggles suggested that the Los Angeles-based producer had something big in store. For an artist whose musical work is always inseparable from his visual identity, this was a natural next step. 

But the show was a testament to his increasing ambitions as an all-around artist -- and the ambitions of FYF Fest to push its talent to create bigger, bolder sets.

With the glasses on, the audience saw laser fans sweeping out overhead like a false ceiling. Sleek digital objects popped out of nowhere to tower over his gear rig. Fields of stars blossomed behind him, making it look like Lotus was performing before infinite depths. 

The music was dancier and clubbier than usual, as if he knew that the retina-bending setup required some kick-drum grounding. But L.A. is lucky to have an artist who never ceases to push his talents into strange new realms like this.

Meanwhile, a little earlier, Anderson .Paak gave FYF fans whiplash, as anyone who walked by his set had no choice but to watch, gape-jawed, as his played Sheila E.-worthy drums while rapping, singing, bandleading and utterly commanding his stage. His is a once-in-a-generation talent, and after years of struggle he's finally playing the kinds of stages where he belongs.

Lotus' pal Hannibal Buress played the night's lone big-stage comedy set, and it was just as giddily unnerving. He talked through a Bon Iver-style vocal harmonizer, lamented that he didn't have a trademark terminal disease of his own ("Alzheimer's, Hodgkins', Buress' disease.") and imagined the gory details of his own funeral. Maybe contemporary American politics has led our artists and comedians to go ahead and assume the worst is inevitable. At least they're trying to wring some life out of it all.   

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