Hyperdub Album Release Fhloston Paradigm The Phoenix

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Cielo 1 - Deep Space - Fhloston Paradigm 7.7.14

FHLOSTON PARADIGM

THE PHOENIX

Hyperdub

Album Release

7.7.14 

Release Party at Cielo in NYC for Francois K’s Deep Space

I will perform with Marlo Reynolds alongside King Britt for an amazing improvisatory journey amidst Fhloston Paradigm!

Cielo 7.7.14

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Cielo 2 - Deep Space - Fhloston Paradigm 7.7.14

“[King Britt’s] new album, The Phoenix, under the guise Fhloston Paradigm, is being released on Hyperdub. He is pushing the boundaries of sound, time & space with his sonic palette of beauty. Deep Space is an adventure into future dub, spacey vibes, & abstract grooves featuring resident dj François K. live on the mixing board every Monday at Cielo. No dress code – just an open mind.”

Cielo, 18 Little W. 12th Street, NYC

www.deepspacenyc.com


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LISTEN TO THE ALBUM – PITCHFORK ADVANCE STREAM – VISUALS BY MICHAEL TODD 


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FACT MAGAZINE Review Fhloston Paradigm The Phoenix

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The Phoenix - Cover

FACT MAGAZINE

FHLOSTON PARADIGM

THE PHOENIX

HYPERDUB

6.23.14

“Of the vocal tracks, the album highlight ‘Tension Remains’ lives up to its title, owing as much to spiritual jazz as to the space opera of The Fifth Element, Pia Ercole’s rich, suspenseful melisma a perfect counterpoint to the slowly building rhythm and buzzing synths. Her soulful vocal also features on ‘It’s All About’, one of the more understated tracks, and the percussive workout of ‘Letters of the Past’.”

King Britt draws from The Fifth Element, Blade Runner and more on his first Hyperdub album.

Science fiction and electronic music have long been bedfellows, from Detroit techno deploying its mythological tropes as conduits for themes of racial oppression and civil rights, to more recent works by Kode9, u-Ziq and Kuedo. King Britt’s debut LP as Fhloston Paradigm fits rather elegantly into this model. In interview, he’s described The Phoenix, his debut album under this alias, itself a corruption of The Fifth Element’s Fhloston Paradise, as a “re-scoring” of soundtracks from such sci-fi classics as Blade Runner and The Fifth Element.

In fact, the most immediate contemporary touchstone for The Phoenix isn’t Kuedo, whose debt to Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack is equally hard to overstate, but Nicolas Jaar. Britt has a similar knack for folding disparate threads into his own design, here drawing on sci-fi film soundtracks, Afrofuturism, techno, ambient and soul. Like Space Is Only Noise, The Phoenix never quite settles on one style, but even as it takes in all manner of genres it rarely loses focus, thanks not only to its conceptual core but also to Britt’s command of melody and sequencing.

The album is split fairly evenly between vocal tracks and sprawling, slow-burning instrumentals. Clattering snares and a heavy bassline are ballast for the dazzling synth arcs of ‘Race to the Moon’, and when they lift the noodling they leave behind is cut off at just the right moment, cosmic without being indulgent. ‘Chasing Rainbows’ pivots on a dubby bassline, swooning synth chords and drum machine hits that slap hard, while ‘Never Forget’ is all broken rhythms paired with heady chords and vocal snippets plastered in echo.

The Phoenix’s dramatic apex, its nine-minute title track, is dub techno as seen through the prism of the album’s conceptual underpinning, its percussive skeleton overlaid with gurgling melodic passages, bleeps and echo, their push and pull the stuff of pure narrative drama. ‘Portal 4’ and ‘Portal 3’ are interludes that wouldn’t be out of place on a genuine soundtrack, perhaps to a fault; although they flesh The Phoenix out, the voiceovers feel a little too obvious and their emphasis on sound design threatens to dwarf the musicality of the rest of the album. The same can’t be said for the opener ‘Portal 1’, which successfully pairs thrumming rhythms with ominous melodic touches and potent low end.

Of the vocal tracks, the album highlight ‘Tension Remains’ lives up to its title, owing as much to spiritual jazz as to the space opera of The Fifth Element, Pia Ercole’s rich, suspenseful melisma a perfect counterpoint to the slowly building rhythm and buzzing synths. Her soulful vocal also features on ‘It’s All About’, one of the more understated tracks, and the percussive workout of ‘Letters of the Past’. Only on ‘Never Defeated’ does The Phoenix feel overloaded, Rachel Claudio’s breathy refrain threatening to dwarf the bassline and fizzing rhythms. In contrast, the closer ‘Light On Edge’ is more pared down, featuring Natasha Kmeto singing over a contemplative, swirling instrumental. The Phoenix’s title alone hints at its ambitiousness, but even given the sheer wealth of variety and detail Fhloston Paradigm crams in, it’s never lofty or inaccessible; instead, it both upholds an electronic music convention even as it carves its own singular niche.

PUBLISHED
23 Jun 2014

WORDS BY
Maya Kalev

FACT Magazine – The Phoenix – Review

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The Phoenix – The Journey

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The Phoenix - Vinyl- Full Gatefold

King Britt and I had been having ongoing conversations about music for quite some time when he asked me if I wanted to collaborate with him. Two years ago he sent me a track, “Tension Remains”, for which he wanted operatic vocals.

It was an interesting situation: although I had trained classically, I hadn’t been interested in devoting my musical career to opera. I couldn’t marry the art form—I wasn’t in love. I did love the art of the song, however, in whichever incarnations it manifested, whether it was a chanson by Debussy, an exotic folk tune, a jazz standard, or even an aria from an opera standing on its own. I also loved improvising melodies and harmonies over any purely instrumental music whether it was orchestral, electronic, or perhaps solo piano–it didn’t matter. I was most interested in classical technique serving simple, honest, and beautiful singing devoid of histrionics.

I took this as the perfect opportunity to compose a vocal line(s) that would harken to the operatic beauty of the aria “Oh, giusto cielo!…Il dolce suono” from Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, sung by the character, Diva Plavalaguna in the movie The Fifth Element. I had no interest in caricaturizing the “blue alien”. I was guided first and foremost by the music that King had composed. Its story dictated every nuance of my phrasing and sound rather than any genre-specific tradition.

For the first time, with King, I felt like I had the sonic soundscape with the proper breadth and range to support and inspire my more “operatic” voice. With “Tension Remains”, King had scored an epic scene of post-apocalyptic ruin within which I would represent the beauty of the human spirit and also the pain, sadness, and longing, all of which are part of the human experience. My mother had just died some months before, and the ache was fresh. I drew on it to translate devastation and beauty through my voice and melodies.

 “Letters of Past” and “Its All About” followed. With these tracks King had scored more of the tale, and I sang to suite the sonic vibe of the scenes.

It’s so wonderful to see the release of King Britt’s amazing work and to be a part of it alongside Rachel Claudio, Natasha Kmeto, and Marlo Reynolds. I’m very excited for the world to share in Fhloston Paradigm through this recording and Fhloston Paradigm live performances!

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“Ave Maria” – Red Hot + Bach – The Process

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Red Hot + Bach Cover

Purchase: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/red-hot-+-bach/id868831403

Red Hot + Bach: http://www.redhot.org/news/red-hot-bach-releases-june-17th/

J.S. Bach’s Prelude No. 1 in C major…

All I heard was luscious and articulate perfection.

Recording the Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria” with King Britt brought me back in time to my childhood piano lessons, and my very first encounter with Bach’s original prelude. My teacher introduced it to me, and I listened with the fresh, virgin ears of a child; not expecting “Bach,” “baroque music,” or any of the connotations that might be anticipated by a more seasoned student, but relishing each note and harmony on a purely musical basis. All I heard was luscious and articulate musical perfection. I was moved to sing…

At home, my parents played for me a recording of a soprano singing the gorgeous vocal solo composed by Charles Gounod, which he had superimposed above Bach’s original prelude and to which he later assigned the Latin text “Ave Maria”. Later that year, I played the prelude in my first piano recital. And then…I spontaneously played it again, singing the Gounod melody as a vocalise. I hadn’t planned to, and I didn’t know if my strict Russian teacher would approve, but I wasn’t concerned, mostly because I was intoxicated by the piece having just played it, and, well…I was eight…and I didn’t really care.

Two years ago, I started working with producer King Britt as part of Fhloston Paradigm, both in live performance and for the upcoming album The Phoenix. When he asked if I wanted to be a part of the Red Hot + Bach project, I couldn’t believe how the Bach prelude and Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria” had come back to me now in such an unexpected and beautiful way.

As King and I recorded the Bach/Gounod “Ave Maria,” I approached it with respect for the specific styling of a more classical interpretation, and at the same time I was open to the voice called forth by the sonic palette and polyrhythms of the track. King encouraged me to sing harmonies over the main vocal line, and I began to feel the piece in its jazzy, sensual realm…enveloped by the sounds of analog synthesizers and their rhythmic permutations. (It’s nothing new that Bach’s music translates seamlessly across genres spanning centuries—this album as a case in point.)

The vocal line of Gounod’s “Ave Maria” actually came from an improvisation that he had played over the Bach prelude (which had been written 130 years earlier!). Gounod’s fiancé’s father overheard the improvisation and insisted on writing the melody down in musical notation so it would not be lost and forgotten. Knowing that this beautiful melody was birthed from improvisation, I followed King’s encouragement to improvise. My voice and vocal styling followed suit.

I’m so honored to have been a part of this project, alongside so many colleagues for whom I hold the deepest respect. This project, by design, will raise money and awareness to fight AIDS around the world. And, although they since have passed away, I smile to know how thrilled and fascinated my parents would have been to witness the evolution of that tiny seed of inspiration that they planted so many moons ago.

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