One of the first fruits of Fhloston Paradigm rose out of the very popular ‘King Britt presents Fhloston Paradigm’ Hyperdub 12” in 2011, the name itself a fitting misspelling of the destination from the film Fifth Element, called ‘Fhloston Paradise.’ This initial EP won over many new fans with its inspired vision of how music with its DNA in a vintage future - formed by a childhood growing up with the peak of Science Fiction, from Close Encounters, to Blade Runner and Doctor Who - can sound. It hit upon a creative and adventurous way to fly above the needless analog and digital binary and represent both sides.
‘The Phoenix’, King Britt’s debut album as Fhloston Paradigm is unlike anything he’s done before, extending out of the principals laid down by the early EPs and excelling in turning beautiful production and a mind brimming with rich mental imagery into an album that reflects and ties together sci-fi’s musical history and concepts without being weighed down by them, and has a strong running through it without the pressure of overbearing concept.
The album rides up and down in mood, opening with the claustrophobic paranoia of ‘Portal 1’s slicing roto-blades and solemn chords, next to the desolate, slow-building ultra-rhythmic techno of ‘Race to the Moon’. Then there are pockets on the album, especially with the introduction of Pia Ercole’s aquatic-operatic vocals, that sound as if optimistic space age exotica is being tested against the more amorphous sonics of modern electronica. There are also moments of bleakness, with ‘Chasing Rainbows’ a metallic drum machine work out pitted against rubbery synth chords that remind of broken techno, contrasted with moments of head spinning beatlessness, like the crackling glitches and subliminal messages of ‘Perception’, or the undulating sun-baked ambience of ‘More’.
The album has two dramatic peaks; first, the gorgeous anthemic soul of ‘Never Defeated’ with vocalist Rachel Claudio repeating a tense lyric over fretless bass, gently building in melodies, vocals breaking away into harmonies; the other is an unusual take on dub techno with ‘The Phoenix’ which builds an icy synth sequence over spacey, dubbed out shimmering drum patterns, feeding in tendrils of counter-melody and echo. Then there’s the racing ‘Never Forget’ all sirens and sea-sick bassline.
The album finishes on the delicate ‘Light On Edge’ with Natasha Kmeto delivering a sighing repetitive vocal over a delicate mesh of bleeps, whooshes and soft chords. This is emotive and imaginative music, for deep voyaging.
1. Portal 1
2. Race To The Moon
3. Letters Of Past [ft Pia Ercole]
4. Chasing Rainbows
2. Never Defeated [ft Rachel Claudio]
3. Tension Remains [ft Pia Ercole]
4. Its All About [ft Pia Ercole]
1. More [ft Mario Reynolds]
2. The Phoenix
3. Portal 3
1. Never Forget
2. Portal 4
3. Light On Edge [ft Natasha Kmeto]