Flying Lotus has morphed into a legendary critical success. His music is drooled over by audiophiles for his inventive production and mind blowing album concepts. Flamagra is his newest and longest. The 27 track project sounds like a random collection of slightly experimentally funk motifs. Of course you get much more than that, yet cohesively, nothing really makes sense. The strange and very entertaining David Lynch skit is out of place next to standard rap track with Denzel Curry, although his rapping is great.
Half the tracklist is made up of strange minute and a half long audio sketches, usually with a wonky sequenced drum beat and dissonant messy piano chords and synths. Some of these really don’t work, “Heros in a Half Shell” and “Pilgrim Side Eye” get old about three seconds in. They are overproduced and have way to many things going on at once. Yet where album shines is when Flying Lotus creates a track around a collaborator. “More” featuring Anderson Paak is a solid groovy example, with excellent structure, production and flow. The problem is that nothing about the track screams Flying Lotus. This identity crisis shows itself consistently throughout the track list.
“9 Carrots” with Toro Y Moi goes over well, the instrumental is funky and strange, the outro echos with ghostly reverb and a slew of bonkers rhythmic percussion. That said the mixing on the track leaves something to be desired. Which brings up the unfortunate fact that some tracks have a demo quality to them. This might have something to do with Flying Lotus going overboard with his layering and reverb. Too many fighting frequencies and different degrees of reverb on every musical element do not work all the time.
Flamagra is an entertaining disappointment. While it fails to live up to his more legendary works, he does at least try to give us an album filled with entertaining guests, shrouded by his newfound love of quirky funk-based production. The album is filled with interesting sounds and sketches but almost nothing finds itself to be truly essential.