Flying Lotus has released his massive and ambitious new album Flamagra. He released his last album You’re Dead in 2014 and it is a testament to what he has done since and his musical cache that he is still this revered and can call upon some heavyweight collaborators to assist on Flamagra.
At 27 tracks Flamagra may seem on first glance overly long and bloated. In the streaming age, putting out this many songs in one album is a smart play to rack up a few extra cents of Spotify money, but FlyLo doesn’t seem like the type of try and play the streaming to charts game. However, every song has a purpose and delivers on its own mission.
With Flamagra, Flying Lotus continues to blaze trails in his own unique niche of music that combines lo-fi hip-hop beats, soul, electronica and a bit of new age jazz. Even with 27 tracks, the album flows effortlessly from start to finish. It is an album that requires your attention, but doesn’t try to be overly heady or inaccessible.
Instrumentals often help to support the big vocal collaborations that follow them. The saxophone flourishes on “Heroes In A Half Shell” flow right into the first minute of “More” with Anderson .Paak, before it flips into a hip-hop record.
As one should expect from Flying Lotus, nothing fits neatly into a simple genre category as the album morphs and evolves. There is always the unique touch from Flying Lotus that bridges many different musical worlds into his twisted and brilliant universe.
He isn’t just trying to make tracks that are obviously geared towards dancefloor or background listening. There are tracks like “Yellow Belly” with Tierra Whack where the beat seems to stutter and just be slightly off beat. On the other side of the classic, old school sounding “Black Balloons Reprise” with Denzel Curry is the apocalyptic “Fire Is Coming” with David Lynch that tells a riveting and well-crafted story of a potentially dangerous human interaction before a major fire.
Even with the heavyweight collaborations on the record, Flying Lotus doesn’t give in to their whims and create songs designed for them. The tracks seem to have the artist in mind, but collaborators like Shabazz Palaces, Solange, Toro Y Moi or Thundercat are all buying into the overall vision from Flying Lotus. They each bring new elements to the record like the soulful “Land Of Honey” with Solange and fun and funky “The Climb” with Thundercat.
Flying Lotus has created his new masterpiece -- opening up a new chapter in his musical career. Flamagra is a cosmic journey through the brilliant mind of Steven Ellison that is the spiritual follow up to his 2010 album COSMOGRAMMA. It sends you on many different twists and turns, but in the end lands with the soothing and soft “Hot Oct.” FlyLo has his album of the year contender once again.
Flamagra is available to stream below and can be purchased in digital or vinyl copies here.
Flying Lotus is heading out on tour this summer and fall, with gigs all across North America. Get tickets and details for the shows here.