Sunday, May 26, 2019

Album Review: Flying Lotus- Flamagra

I hit play on Flying Lotus’ Flamagra at exactly 11 p.m. Thursday, May 23.  You’re Dead! was my favorite album of 2014 and I’d waited four years and seven months for the follow-up by the man born Steven Ellison.  My initial reaction to Flamagra was excruciating.  I felt as if FlyLo was simply being weird for the sake of being weird.  I lamented the absence of proper songs during my second pass.  If the third time wasn’t quite the charm, I finally began to comprehend the album’s intent.  Subsequent playthroughs have delighted me.  Flamagra is a cosmic funk album as interpreted by jazz-minded musicians.  The album sounds as if Chick Corea is jamming with Funkadelic on a zero-gravity, low-oxygen rocket to Mars co-piloted by William Burroughs and Elon Musk.  One more thing: the wavy visuals for each song on Spotify suggest a strong drug orientation, but I can attest that Flamagra provides a mind-blowing experience for sober listeners.  “Black Balloon Reprise” is the most conventional track.

I reviewed a performance by the German trio Der Lange Schatten at Plastic Sax.

NPR created a 65-minute overview of the ECM component of the 2019 edition of the Big Ears Festival.  I was in the audience for the Carla Bley Trio and Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin sets featured in the program, but I opted to catch Nate Wooley’s appearance rather than hear the Avishai Cohen Quartet a second time.

(Original image by There Stands the Glass.)

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