Renata Raksha/Courtesy of the artist
Since releasing You’re Dead! in 2014, Flying Lotus, the L.A. producer conceptual artist, rapper and label head, has collaborated with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Thundercat, Herbie Hancock and more. On May 24, he finally dropped his own highly anticipated fifth album, Flamagra. Step right up and prepare to be astonished by the strange, blink-and-you-miss-them concatenations of sound beamed directly from the mind of FlyLo.
Flamagra is a 27-track record that itself features artists like Solange, Toro y Moi and Anderson .Paak. Some tracks are as short as a minute. Rather than make typical verse-chorus songs, the artist goes for curious eerie little environments. It’s part of how he’s re-imagining that outdated construct of the long-playing album.
The project plays like a high-speed chase through a carnival fun house — a sideshow attraction of the mind. Turn a corner and you might find yourself deep in a disorienting escape-room maze. Walk a little further and you encounter George Clinton, the grand wizard of funk, leading a team of digital munchkins through a surreal production number.
Conceptually, this album complements its predecessor. While You’re Dead! muses about what happens in the afterlife, FlyLo’s latest album grapples with fear and dread on right here on earth. Despite the short vignettes and detours, Flamagra hangs together and unfolds in a cinematic way, with rousing moments followed by quiet ones followed by brain-scrambling bits of programming wizardry.