By Ben Boddez
Flying Lotus – Flamagra
The nephew of legendary jazz musician John Coltrane, Flying Lotus creates a collision of complex and chaotic jazz and funk soloing with electronic instruments within a modern hip-hop framework. It’s been four-and-a-half years since the evocative Grammy-nominated project You’re Dead, and Lotus has returned with another highly conceptual series of tracks.
Flamagra is built around the idea of an eternal flame, and it opens and closes with the sound of its crackling.
It’s a cinematic experience with instrumentals evoking a series of strong emotions, making the listener picture this fire and what might be going on around it. Each track has elements of the previous one, as if the whole album was structured to be an hour-long, gradually shifting single track.
The project also boasts an impressive list of guests including Denzel Curry, Solange and George Clinton, allowing Lotus to tone down his complex interlocking rhythms and flex his muscles as a producer. He brings out the best of his collaborators’ styles, adding his own quirks when the tracks call for a sparkly diversion. The whole project represents the thrills of familiar sounds without the constraints of genre convention.