Flamingosis – Bright Moments
Listening to Bright Moments is like walking into a '90s R&B video. Bright chandeliers, fur coats and smooth grooves. It’s the kind of album to put on during a warm summer night when your air conditioner is broken and it’s just a little too hot. Maybe you’re drinking a cold beer or some La Croix while you listen.
Some might say the Feel Good Hit of The Summer is a bit of a cliché, but I’m not convinced. Summer albums come in all shapes and flavours. Mélonade is a poppy bubble of sunshine, while Bright Moments is a strut through a hotel at dusk. The album is the 7th release from Flamingosis. Whose previous output stretches from 2014 Debut album, Flamingosis to 2018’s Flight Fantastic, with a bevvy of Splits, EPs and Singles along with way. The 2016 released Bright Moments sits nestled in the middle of his Discography. As a producer, Flamingosis is often compared to his Future Funk contemporaries, with antique '70s soul and disco samples chopped into bouncy beats. But Flamingosis isn’t pigeonholed by the style. He draws heavily from the world of Hip-Hop sampling, listing Flying Lotus, J Dilla and Madlib as major influences. The result is the tasteful Bright Moments. A blend of relaxed Future Funk, Chillhop and Low-Fi. It’s got an edge, but a welcome accessibility. Easy to zone out to in the heat.
Bright Moments opens the album in a swirl of keyboards and high hats, before slinking into exactly the kind of mellow groove that defines the album. Flight of the Flamingos adds in parping horns and a sonar deep bass, before morphing into the Hollywood glamour of Sentimentality Due to Getting Curved. Bright Moments is heavy with 70s samples, giving the album a cohesive, retro vibe. Cuts alternate from the established, The Jones Girls, to the niche, Андрей Петров, to the super famous; with Next To You sampling David Bowie’s drums. It’s also hard not to smile at album highlight Casanova, cheekily blending the Lupin III soundtrack with Kanye West’s Golddigger. I like his choice of samples, it gives the album character- and sets Flamingosis apart from his peers who focus more on '80s muzak or Japanese pop cuts. The song titles too are lazy and cool. Make Me Late for Breakfast, Flight of the Flamingo, Brunch at the Bodega, all under that block-colour album art. The credits roll to the heartfelt refrain of Passing By, “ever since you’ve been gone…”
In an interview with Groove Airline, Flamingosis paints his process as straightforward- but with deep roots; “I have to just dig deep for hours, and if I hear something that I like I’ll use it. It’s pretty simple.” Taking such a laidback attitude seems to be working. Bright Moments is immediate in its pleasures. “There’s no right or wrong way how to sample something. I just do everything off of feeling.” But despite his light-touch approach to the album’s concepts, the production on here is no slouch. Samples are clear, and the instrumentals of each track crisp and audible. Vocal tracks are carefully selected, and you can tell some real crate-diving went into finding these matching puzzle-pieces. The bass, in particular, is impressive. It doesn’t just pound your ears, but slinks up and down, writhing and turning. It’s got so much groove and bop. Clearly going off feeling sometimes just works.
Future Funk and other sample-based genres are sometimes criticised for being too surface level. Too eager to serve up nuggets and earworms, while shying away from shade and nuance. But this overlooks just how fun music like Bright Moments can be. Yes, electronic music can also be sparse and questioning – but sometimes it just has to accentuate a drunken kiss or a night-time walk. In fact, without the gooey joy of artists like Flamingosis the complexity of drone, ambient or progressive electronic would have nothing to contrast itself with.
Buy this album and enjoy it. We all need a bit of chilled out the fun in our lives. And with the weather getting better and the sun coming up, you owe it to yourself to get Bright Moments on your Summer soundtrack.
Sam L. Barker is a freelance writer and marketer living in Cambridge, UK. He writes about music, technology and memory.