Capturing a cosmic sound. King Britt’s play on The 5th Element Fhloston Paradise orbits around Afro-funk, Soul, Dub, Disco and techno to create an sensory Sci-Fi experience.
I was first introduced to Fhloston Paradigm’s The Phoenix via Hyperdub’s coveted compilation series (10-10.4) marking their 10 year legacy of progressive electronic music. A couple of plays of Race to the Moon, had me transported to another world of deep space soundscapes. Tracing down the rest of the album, I found it jam packed with cerebral tracks that chart a vision of Afro-futurist Sci fi narrative. With, analogue spells, dense distant atmospheres, enchanting vocals and a consistent electro-funk groove intact. I was more than a smidge pleased with the discovery.
The Phoenix envisions intergalactic territory centred around Afro funk influences, presenting a varied soundtrack of Space-Age Soul techno. Britt’s work intends to provide an Afrocentric narrative of sci-fi, fantasy and electronica, inspired to construct a sound of the pre-digital through digital experimentation. King Britt’s alias, Fhloston Paradise, dubbed to reference his cosmic vision, pays homage to 90’s sci-fi cult film The Fifth Element. Inspired by Besson’s imagined utopia the “Fhloston Paradise” and perhaps fuelled by the same space age vision as that of Sun Ra’s 1974 “Space is the Place”. This album succeeds in providing the same transcendental escapism; an alternate vision, to make the mind wander further afield to distant galaxies.
Genre chameleon King Britt, comes with an eclectically dense discography, charting a couple decades of his experimentation through Funk, Jazz, House and Detroit techno. He’s also had a few too many monikers to mention. But for the grand project, released 2014 Britt spent the best part of two years envisioning, crafting and fine tuning the space-age fantasia waiting patiently it to take flight. Aside from being personally moved, the project itself has been noted by many as a progressive peice de resistance, mapping Afro futurism and Sci-fi drama in the capacities of electronic sound. Think Black to the Future…
“To use a process of “primitive” means comparatively futuristic. I went back to the the future”
A firm favourite would have to be, the anthemic Never Defeated, a track that feels as if it has been crafted for celestial choirs of the astral plane. With its moody entrance into a cavernous, minimal dub bassline, scattered with disjunctive trickles of busy reverb and rainy concrete patters . The track slow burns to an exquisite melodious symphony, featuring Rachel Claudio’s soulful warbles of cautionary gossamer chant that whisper and invoke “that magic”. and with Paradigm’s recent release of Cosmosis (Vol 2), there’s even more audio to regenerate a spell-binding voyage to outer space.
Watch Never Defeated
“We waited for the right time to present this project in Philadelphia. With the album dropping in July, we felt we weren’t ready to present in our home. When the opportunity knocked for my favorite venue, Johnny Brenda’s, we knew it was time. Greatest way to end 2014.
Thank you” – King Britt
Words by Leah Abraham