This isn’t a record. It’s a proper full fat concept album. A spaced out funk epic inspired by David Lynch which takes us on a journey from an “eternal flame sitting on the hill” with musical influences rich in hip hop, jazz, soul, funk, jazz, dance and classical music.
Steven “Flying Lotus” Ellison teams up with some of his closest collaborators; Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner and Anderson .Paak as well as guests Solange, George Clinton, Toro y Moi and Shabazz Palaces to produce one of the most stunning records of his career.
At a whopping 27 songs (which blend into a movement) and 5 years in the making, Flamagra has a dream-like, psychedelic vibe which is at times chaotic and others soothing and comforting. At all times the technical wizardry is sublime and effortless and as each track builds on the last you become more and more in awe of this incredible musician and producer’s ability. For some listeners wanting an easy listen, an almost 70 minute run time on this scale may prove too strenuous.
My stand out tracks are Takashi, More (with Anderson Paak), The Climb (featuring the sublime vocals and bass of Thundercat) and Spontaneous (featuring Little Dragon). There’s a hint of Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz at times in this alternate, almost comic book universe, that is always stimulating.
The LA sound that Fly Lo and his contemporaries defined for the last decade develops into a remarkable experience brimming with emotion and technical joy in Flamagra. So pour yourself a drink, put the lights down low, fire up the recliner chair and join him in the journey.
Ancient Photo: Simon Fernandez