Flying Lotus Flamagra Warp Records
Flying Lotus’ breakthrough album, Los Angeles, heralded the raucous arrival of the LA Beat scene in the mid-00s. His bumping, psychedelic bass music was steeped in history but sounded thrillingly new. With a sound forged from jazz, hip-hop, electronica and the hazy swirl of West Coast psychedelia, his aesthetic has slowly percolated into the groundwater through his much-loved Brainfeeder label, and his signature production sound is instantly recognisable. His latest album, Flamagra, is a mesmerising blend of shuffling rhythms and melodies, featuring an impressive carousel of guests waiting patiently for their turn on the mic.
Occasionally, previous FlyLo albums have lost their focus in a flurry of ideas. That’s not the case here. Riding on currents of liquid funk, tracks like Heroes In a Half Shell and Takashi are closest to his signature playful template. Anderson .Paak’s contribution elevates More to a soaring, dreamy standout, while George Clinton’s smoky vocals seep through Burning Down the House. David Lynch croaks a weary warning on Fire Is Coming, and Tierra Whack rhymes over playful Madlib tropes on Yellow Belly, before Solange’s sombre, soulful ‘hallelujahs’ (and a gentle tribute to his friend Mac Miller) wind down the album’s fiery convulsions. FlyLo’s restless creative vision has been defined and redefined over 15 years, but on Flamagra he has created perhaps the most complete, joyous, and technicolor rendering of it yet.