Flying Lotus - Flamagra (Instrumentals) Music Album Reviews

The instrumental edition of last year’s cosmic jazz-funk odyssey brings Flying Lotus’ detailed compositions and soundscaping to center stage.

Roughly a year ago, Flying Lotus released Flamagra, an expansive, cosmic jazz-funk saga that spanned 27 songs over the course of 67 minutes and featured 10 guest vocalists. His latest offering is an instrumental version of the LP, now scrubbed of vocals from Anderson .Paak, George Clinton, and Tierra Whack, among others. The result conjures ambivalence: On one hand, songs snipped away from their narrator can feel like canned backing tracks. On the other, the pure instrumentals allow FlyLo’s detailed compositions and soundscaping to take the lead role, without competition from other big personalities.
None of the original guest vocalists did Flamagra any harm, but they did risk ejecting you from FlyLo’s wild, sci-fi spiritual journey. The album’s opening minutes chart an undulating course through the cosmos: On the spectacular “Heroes,” we’re jet-propelled by skittering percussion, lightspeed guitar noodling, and radiant chorals. The ride ebbs and flows with the subsequent “Post Requisite” and “Heroes in a Half Shell,” but the appearance of Anderson .Paak’s distinctive voice on “More”—while perfectly suited to the song itself—feels like a sudden call back to earth. The instrumental version does away with those distractions, allowing for more immersive listening experience.


While Flamagra as a whole is strengthened by the instrumental treatment, individual tracks can suffer. Compared with the richness of surrounding songs, “More” sounds unfinished without .Paak. Tierra Whack’s performance on “Yellow Belly” was a highlight of the original album, twisting and contorting her voice as if shaping a surreal balloon animal. Without her idiosyncratic delivery, the song is just a series of curt handclaps, chimes, and bass couplets. There’s a prominent, palpable absence that was clearly meant to be sung over.

Some tracks are musically fortified enough to stand on their own. While it’s impossible not to miss George Clinton’s warm rasp on “Burning Down the House,” the sturdy, meandering funk holds strong thanks to Thundercat’s titan bassline. The swerve of fretless bass and spangly synths on “Spontaneous” are far more captivating on their own than alongside Little Dragon’s somewhat sanitized soul vocals. Similarly, the Toro y Moi-featuring “9 Carrots” doesn’t lose much without a singer.

One question looms over the Flamagra instrumentals: Why? It’s not a matter of quality, but of intent. Flamagra already featured 17 instrumental tracks in its original release; the decision to strip the voices from the other 10 seems like an afterthought, and occasionally sounds like one. There is also a slight issue of consistency. Why is David Lynch’s spoken word piece “Fire Is Coming” the only guest appearance to remain on the instrumental version?

Perhaps Flamagra could have made sense as two separate albums: 17 instrumentals on one disc, 10 guest-featuring songs on the other. As adjoining chapters in the same book, the two releases would be in conversation with one another. But it’s hard to imagine someone listening to Flamagra as it was re-released to streaming services, with the initial album and the instrumental version back-to-back—not only because of their length, but because of their sequential similarities. The addition of Flamagra (Instrumental) is best suited for the FlyLo completist: It may be more cohesive as a trip, but it doesn’t offer any truly new revelations.



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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Flying Lotus - Flamagra (Instrumentals) Music Album Reviews Flying Lotus - Flamagra (Instrumentals) Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, June 11, 2020 Rating:

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