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Flying Lotus Installs SSL XL-Desk Analog Studio Console

Flying Lotus

Solid State Logic reports that Steven Ellison, a.k.a. Flying Lotus, has installed a Solid State Logic XL-Desk in his personal studio. Ellison is a great-nephew of jazz and avant-garde musician Alice Coltrane, and Flying Lotus’ music can be heard on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming. In addition, his fifth and most recent release, You’re Dead!, includes contributions by Herbie Hancock, Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg and was named one of Rolling Stones top albums of 2014.

Ellison says he selected the analog XL-Desk for its capabilities, which didn’t exist in his previous laptop or in-the-box recording setup.

“Before I got the XL-Desk, my biggest issue was always how to make my music more dynamic, with even more space in the sound and defined bass—how to widen the 3-D field,” he says. “That’s something I’ve been battling. I’ve wanted the analog warmth for so long, and I’ve always wanted the analog depth. I wanted to see how far I could take it. When I hear my music through the XL-Desk, it has a natural sound to it; it sounds real. Once you actually hear your music through the console, you get addicted to it. There’s so much more room now. It makes me feel the openness.”

Ellison says that his contemporaries, hip-hop producer Daddy Kev, who himself owns an XL-Desk, and the legendary producer Dr. Dre, nurtured Ellison’s love of SSL’s signature sound. “As a producer, Dre was the guy I looked to. He was like my hero growing up,” he says. “It’s funny—I had dinner with him once, and I asked him, ‘Do you still use a mixing desk?’ He said, ‘Oh yeah, always.’ I told him I had never used one, he looked at me like I was crazy: ‘Never?’ That was a turning point—ever since then, I’ve become really fascinated with them. It’s how I take my sound to the next level.”

Ellison has equipped the 18-slot 500 Series format rack, a standard feature of the XL-Desk, with SSL’s E-Series console channel EQs and the Stereo Bus Compressor. “It’s just blown me away,” he continues. “I can do some really cool stuff that I never did before. I can run these analog 500-format modules and I’ve been able to get really creative with patching in a way that I never thought I would. I’m able to route things in a really interesting way.

“The sound is different, man,” he adds. “There’s a lot more space and you get a lot more headroom as well. Using it has also been helpful in ways that I didn’t expect. Having balanced subwoofer control is really good and the iJack has been great, too. It is a lot of little things like those that have been awesome about the desk.”

And when it comes to mixing, Ellison says, “Things happen a lot faster when everything is in the desk. I would toil on the computer forever, but when it’s actually on faders, everything just makes sense a lot quicker. And there’s a more hands-on feel to it—it’s a beautiful thing.”

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