Flying Lotus will release Flamagra, his much-aniticipated new album, via Warp next month. The album features (in order of appearance) Anderson .Paak, George Clinton, Little Dragon, Tierra Whack, Denzel Curry, Shabazz Palaces, Thundercat, Toro y Moi, Solange, and more. David Lynch even pops up for an eerie narration wherein he warns that “Fire is coming.”
It's been nearly five years since the last Flying Lotus album, the Grammy-nominated You’re Dead! Since then, the multi-disciplinary Los Angeles artist has remained in constant orbit, collaborating with Kendrick Lamar on the classic To Pimp a Butterfly, directing and writing the Sundance-premiered comic horror hallucination "Kuso," and producing much of Thundercat’s Drunk. He’s also nurtured his Brainfeeder imprint into one of the most consistently innovative record labels of the decade.
Flamagra is a work that "sweeps up every quantum advance and creative leap of the last dozen years of Lotus’ career and takes them even further," the label explains. It encompasses hip-hop, funk, soul, jazz, global dance music, tribal poly-rhythms, IDM, and the L.A. beat scene, but it "soars above a specific vortex whose coordinates can’t be accurately charted," the label adds. It's described as an "astral afro-futurist masterpiece of deep soul, cosmic dust, and startling originality."
“I’d been working on stuff for the past five years, but it was always all over the place. I’d always had this thematic idea in mind—a lingering concept about fire, an eternal flame sitting on a hill,” Lotus says. “Some people love it, some people hate it. Some people would go on dates there and some people would burn love letters in the fire. Then I went to this party and heard David Lynch saying the words that he wound up saying on the record. And I was like: ‘That’s it, we’re just going to go in that direction.'"
Although the album is built on traditional elements of hip-hop, there's a newness present that stems from Lotus' newfound appreciation for the piano. A visit to an art installation created by Tokyo’s Team Labs also triggered his childlike capacity for wonder, and Flamagra aims to be emblematic of that expansive mindset.
It was going to be a 10-track project, then a straight up beat record with no jazz solos, and various other things, until Lotus realized that it had to contain everything, "the complicated and jagged realms of emotions and ideas spiralling in the smoke-riddled, light-polluted San Fernando Valley sky," he says.
The album also pays tribute to Lotus’ friend and collaborator Mac Miller with tracks “Find Your Own Way Home” and “Thank U Malcolm.” “This album has been a refuge for pain and trying to make the most out of that pain,” Lotus says. “Music can heal and in the wake of that tragedy it reminded me what I’m here to do. As we get older, we start to figure out what our purpose is and embrace it and I want to do good things with my work. I want it to be able to help people through tough times and inspire them to be creative.”
02. Post Requisite
03. Heroes In A Half Shell
04. More feat. Anderson .Paak
06. Burning Down The House feat. George Clinton
07. Spontaneous feat. Little Dragon
09. Pilgrim Side Eye
10. All Spies
11. Yellow Belly feat. Tierra Whack
12. Black Balloons Reprise feat. Denzel Curry
13. Fire Is Coming feat. David Lynch
14. Inside Your Home
15. Actually Virtual feat. Shabazz Palaces
17. Remind U
18. Say Something
19. Debbie Is Depressed
20. Find Your Own Way Home
21. The Climb feat. Thundercat
23. 9 Carrots feat. Toro y Moi
25. Land Of Honey feat. Solange
26. Thank U Malcolm
27. Hot Oct.
Flamagra LP lands May 24 via Warp Records, with "Fire Is Coming" feat. David Lynch streaming below.