Flying Lotus - 'Flamagra' Album Review
Electronic music pioneer and full-time alien, Flying Lotus has always been at the cutting edge of of the psychedelic and weird when it comes to electronica and hip-hop and to be honest doesn't get enough credit for his work on some of the most important albums of the decade. From his heavy influence on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly, to his own spacey interpretations of jazz on Cosmogramma in 2010, Flying Lotus has quietly been influencing most of the hip-hop we listen to today, a title he manages to maintain on his new 27-track epic, Flamagra.
I think the best way to dive into a Flying Lotus project is to go in blind so I made sure to avoid any 'spoilers' by blocking all of the singles out of my ears, and spoilers is the right word as Flamagra feels like more of an epic space opera than your standard jazz effort. Opening with the sinister 'Heroes', the opening few tracks of Flamagra might be one of the strongest introductions to any album this year, with the first 13 tracks all being pretty much amazing. Spanning from the smooth-as-silk 'More' featuring soul icon Anderson .Paak, to the incredibly bouncy 'Takashi' to the head-banging 'Black Balloons Reprise' to the terrifying 'Fire Is Coming', the opening to Flamagra honestly had me pretty set that this was going to be the album of the decade.
And this isn't to say that the second half is a let down by any means but a 27 track album is destined to have a dud here and there and unfortunately most of these lie in the second half of the 66 minute tracklist. Luckily tracks like 'The Climb' (that sadly does NOT feature Miley Cyrus) and 'Land of Honey' maintain the excitement all the way to the end but there is still room for a little trimming, as some of the more droney tracks like 'Find Your Own Way Home' and 'Pygmy' leave little to get excited about.
In all honestly it would be difficult for me to call any one track on Flamagra 'bad' as even when very little happens, Flying Lotus constructs such a robust 'vibe' across this project that is near-impossible to break away from, as his spacey synths seem to soundtrack my life even after the final song. While it could do with a little trimming of the fat towards the end of the tracklist, what Flying Lotus has achieved with Flamagra (and specifically it's first half) is nothing short of enchanting, as Flying Lotus once again solidifies his role as the great influencer of new wave hip-hop, crafting a sound that is sure to be echoed for years to come.
Listen to Flamagra below: