Switched On – Fhloston Paradigm: Right Where You Are (Cosmic Lounge Music)

reviewed by Ben Hogwood

What’s the story?

Floston Paradigm is one of the many aliases for King Britt, and has been active since 2012. The celebrated Philadelphia musician and producer describes it in his Bandcamp biography as ‘is a manifestation of afro-futurist ideals, based in an electronic music landscape. The purpose is to transmit the omni-versal message of divine abstractions into aural pleasing tones’.

The time would seem right for its revival, and this new four track album was released to coincide with Bandcamp’s day of sharing their royalties with artists. Dedicated to ‘a world of peace, love and equality for all’, the music is designed to think along the same lines as the blue sky and heady clouds of the cover.

Whether that can be achieved in real life, of course, is another matter – but it is a reminder of the hugely important part music continues to play as the Coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of letting up.

What’s the music like?

Not surprisingly, very relaxing indeed. King Britt has all the assurance of an experienced hand in this repertoire, and the four tracks between them make an extremely calming whole lasting just under an hour.

There is no rush to go anywhere, and as the 22-minute opening track Friday Sombers develops we fall slowly under the spell of its bubbling bass part and slow moving treble lines, which occasionally glint at the edges as though caught by a particularly intense ray of sun. There are little acidic synthesizer sounds that flicker around the picture, like the embers of a fire, while the harmony remains grounded to an omnipresent pitch centre of C. Gradually the track breaks up, like those embers on the fire, until we are left with fragments of indistinct melody.

Mercury’s Portal returns to the same pitch centre with pure tones, birdsong and what sounds like footsteps crunching leaves and / or snow. The pure tones soon give way to a probing piano line, but the textures remain full of light until broader and more jagged tones make themselves known. Now the shadows lengthen, but the music remains airy.

A Moment For Self is more propulsive, with broad strokes around the edges while a more probing synth line forces its way through in mid-range. Again the musical breaths are long, as they are in the final ReBalancing The Theory, which starts with rain and a watery, sustained loop. This is more mellow, the music sinking back to earth gradually, where it becomes more noise-based and fades to the distance.

Does it all work?

Yes – because all of it is just the one track, and with absolutely no hurry or pressure King Britt creates the safest of musical spaces. It is one the listener can completely give over to, or they can apply a more critical ear and appreciate the subtle movements and texture changes. Either way it works well.

Is it recommended?

Yes. From personal experience Right Where We Are achieves exactly what its maker wanted – bringing the listener to a ‘place of center’. If only it could do the same to all those causing friction on the planet at the moment!

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