The common themes of personal connection and wild imaginings grow more present in Stephen Ellison’s work the further he gets into his momentous career.
This is Flying Lotus‘ sixth studio release, upholding his trademark fusion sound with symbols of a deeply collaborative and enchanted creative process. Flamagra is the follow up to his 2014 LP You’re Dead! which focused on the mysterious human inevitability and condition of death. This is a change of tone, however, influence from hip-hop trailblazers such as Madlib and J Dilla remain clear in establishing the conventional FlyLo cosmic sound.
Having established himself as an artist at the height of power, Flying Lotus remains at the top of hip-hop acclaim with his latest album, Flamagra.
Whilst You’re Dead! drew on themes of mortality and the poured sounds of spiritual jazz, Flamagra has no evident themes and instead suggests the flow of creative processes that went into this album’s five years of perfection.
Spending most of that time producing for artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat, the highly awaited 27-track mixtape has a huge list of guest collaborators including jazz icon Herbie Hancock, Anderson Paak, Solange, Toro Y Moi, Little Dragon, Denzel Curry and funk pioneer George Clinton.
Flamagra is like reading into Flying Lotus’ diary, discovering how he carries new ideas into new concepts through the layering of simple materials.
Flamagara is no doubt a creative overload, but its crystal clear focus and moments of stillness gives listeners a time to reflect. Contrary to the contemporary status quo, many of the tracks are proportionately short, a selection of minute-and-a-half songs encompassing full sensory experiences. Time and musical skilfulness have no rules in this dimension.
As an artist that treads respectfully upon the limitless playground of experimental music, Flamagra draws on everything from kaleidoscopic jazz to deep soul and dance music, a defining mosaic of originality.
In a statement, Flying Lotus spoke on his vision for the record, saying “I’d been working on stuff for the past five years, but it was always all over the place.”
“I’d always had this thematic idea in mind – a lingering concept about fire, an eternal flame sitting on a hill. Some people love it, some people hate it. Some people would go on dates there and some people would burn love letters in the fire.”
On Flamagra Flying Lotus switches between magical reinvention and conventional nu-jazz to create a futuristic record that is extraterrestrial and mind-expanding. It beams with many-headed influence and takes Flying Lotus’ self-contained universe to the next level.
Flamagra is out now via WARP.