It’s essentially a happy time when Flying Lotus releases a record, especially when you realize that it’s been five years since his last one. With You’re Dead!, the producer kept things tight and made sure that the narrative was a finely tuned story line. On his new album Flamagra, Flying Lotus doesn’t seem to edit his ideas, the record has over twenty tracks and when it works it’s gold. However when it doesn’t work, it feels bloated with features that may have been cool in the moment, but would’ve made more sense to be a part of another project.
Even though many of these tracks are shorter in length, twenty seven songs is a lot to sift through. In a time when people’s attention spans won’t stay tuned in for more than eleven seconds, Flying Lotus is asking a lot of whoever listens to this album. Many of the songs take a bit too long to get going and even for music heads it’s hard to care where they may end up.
On the plus side, the songs that work are beautiful and masterfully arranged with top notch production. The post-funk infused trip hop notations of “Post Requisite” hold the right tones and notes to hold your ears. “Burning Down The House (feat. George Clinton)” has enough funkiness dripping off its notes that you might need to get a shot after hearing it. Tracks like “Takashi” and “Black Balloons Reprise (feat. Denzel Curry)” have just enough leisure in how they’re presented that they could be chill Summer jams. “Actually Virtual (feat. Shabazz Palaces)” and “The Climb (feat. Thundercat)” have enough complexities throughout to feel like high art. And the slow build on “Land Of Honey (feat. Solange)” has enough soul to make you question if you have one yourself.
So much of the album is earmarked by stellar features, including on banger “More (feat. Anderson .Paak)” where the way the track is structured has a next level jazz feel that you’re stunned in how it all plays out through your speakers. But with those shining moments, there are places that the record is difficult to follow. The use of David Lynch on “Fire Is Coming” falls flat, when songs gt in the pocket they end too quickly and when songs seem to have no definite ending point, they feel lazy. Flamagra has definite shining moments, the funkier sides and jazz heavy tones are definitely on another level, but when it doesn’t work it’s painfully obvious. There’s enough good here to overshadow the puzzling decisions made here, in a time where you may be missing the best parts of an album cluttered with confusing parts.
Flamagra can be streamed on all streaming sites, it can be purchased from all digital music retailers and it can be purchased physically directly from Warp Records. Flying Lotus is on tour starting August 10 in Portland, OR at Roseland Theater until October 10 in Perris, CA at Desert Daze. A complete listing of his upcoming performances can be accessed here.
Image Credits: Photo by Timothy Saccenti.