Flamagra is the much anticipated album release 4 years after Flying Lotus’ (aka FlyLo) last full length album You’re Dead! Flamagra brings the sound that we have come to know with Flying Lotus in the form of a loose concept album based around fire and destruction. Flamagra is different from his other albums because the sound is not as centralized on this record. All of his prior releases had a cohesive sound but this album with its 27 tracks feels more like a revisiting of past sounds with a few experiments thrown in the mix. This album also has more collaborations than any other album which may lend to the reason why the sound jumps throughout the record. Some of the most straight-forward rap songs feature Denzel Curry in the politically driven song called Black Balloons Reprise and the lighter single More featuring Anderson .Paak. Flamagra also features collaborations with modern experimental electronic artists Little Dragon on the track Spontaneous, Toro Y Moi on the track 9 Carrots, and Thundercat on the track Climb (not to mention the many insane bass guitar tracks throughout this album where Thundercat is playing those parts to match the insane drum loops that FlyLo is known for). These tracks accommodate to the sounds of each of these artists and show FlyLo’s ability to collaborate with his creative colleagues. Some of the surprise guests on the album include R&B singer Solange, electro funk pioneer George Clinton, and even actor David Lynch. Solange is featured on the very mellow track Land of Honey which features a lot of string sounds with a slow brooding hip hop beat. Land of Honey is one of many moments where a few tracks do flow into each other rather well as this track prepares the listener for a slow and soft closing to the album. Burning Down The House features George Clinton who shows that at age 77 he still has what it takes to make electro funk music. This track is another one where FlyLo adopts the style of his guest artist even featuring samples from George Clinton’s solo hit single Atomic Dog throughout the song. The first single from this album that got so many FlyLo fan’s stoked for this release was the song Fire Is Coming. The track opens up with a menacing story about the sky darkening because of a pending fire coming towards a family home narrated by David Lynch. Once David Lynch’s verse ends the track speeds up and becomes bouncy with distorted demonic vocals to accompany the track. Overall though this album does stick out from all of his other albums due to its inconsistency in the sound of the tracks. FlyLo fans are accustomed to his past albums having a consistent flow throughout the album. This album has moments where the tracks flow together such as the sequence of tracks Debbie Is Depressed to Find Your Way Home to The Climb to Pygmy to 9 Carrots to FF4. This sequence within the album could have been an EP extracted from Flamagra. Overall though this is a very different album and yet a very similar album to the loyal FlyLo listener. For those listening to Flying Lotus for the first time this is a good variety of the sounds that he has to offer but I feel his loyal listeners may have a little trouble adjusting to this album. With that said it is still an excellent album that still sets a very high standard in hip hop production and continues FlyLo’s musical exploration. It is probably the best album in the FlyLo discography to shuffle and skip around to find the tracks of your liking. Some of my personal favorites from the album not mentioned that bring forward some of the classic FlyLo sound are Remind U, Post Requisite, Capillaries, Takashi, and Andromeda. Overall, it isn’t my favorite Flying Lotus album but it is still a masterful work in hip hop so I give this album a solid 8 out of 10. Oh and one other cool thing is that each track from this album on Spotify is accompanied with moving visual artwork when listened to on a smartphone adding a creative innovation in how music is currently consumed. The album gets bonus points for this!
Tracks from Flying Lotus – Flamagra currently in rotation on Aggie Radio: Takashi, 9 Carrots, Debbie Is Depressed, Land Of Honey, and The Climb