Each song on Duality, Flying Lotus’s 2012 debut as cartoon alter-ego Captain Murphy, comes with its own cover art. The mutating artwork takes advantage of the mixtape’s digital distribution and mirrors its mishmash of genres: the beats bounce around from dusty Stones Throw Records crate-digging to syncopated Das Racist homage, from TNGHT’s minimalist future-hip hop to 1970s acid-western soundtracks. Along with the short song lengths, the interludes apparently taken from an instructional video on cult leadership and the use of vocal filters that borders on schizophrenic, the art helps suffuse the mixtape with a mind-bending playfulness that stands in marked contrast to Flying Lotus’s maximalist avant-hop epics. And the clouds of smoke and optical illusions that are recurring themes in the artwork are a perfect fit for the hazy weed-rap of the mixtape itself.

By: Michael Skinnider

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