On his latest full-length LP Daymaker, Brooklyn-based producer du jour Flamingosis leveled up the game in more ways than one. Not only did the popular party starter leave the comfort and creative confines of the East Coast behind, but he also traveled west to the fertile soil of Colorado, a Stateside Mecca of contemporary electronic music, to record at the venerable Color Red Studios and Mighty Fine Productions. Conceiving the most vibrant material of his nearly decade-long ascent, the white-hot wunderkind drafted some of the more accomplished and eclectic players in the livetronic scene to help bring his innovative visions to kaleidoscopic fruition.
The results of this artistic evolution and enhanced modus operandi are nothing short of astounding. Daymaker reveals a sonically orgasmic platter that permeates the listener’s consciousness, deeper with every listen. The new material marries Flamingosis’s inventive, sample-based production, innate funk and groove tendencies, and robust work ethic with the irreplicable feel and vitality of live instrumentation in the studio.
Flamingosis—government name Aaron Velasquez—took his artisan nom de plume from a noteworthy family history; the term refers to a freestyle frisbee maneuver his father invented several decades ago, back when he and his uncle would play professionally around the world. One can certainly discern an undefined, yet clear lineage of sorts…from throwing discs to dubplates, intergenerational swag. That same intangible, freewheeling frisbee energy pulsates through the thump n’bump within Flamingosis’ musical exploits, never more so than on the diverse, dynamic Daymaker.
Flamingosis is the product of the Soundcloud producer revolution of about a decade ago, along with renowned peers like The Kount, Mr. Dibiase, Swarvy, Birocratic, among numerous others. They rode the waves and came of age as out-of-nowhere bedroom producers were almost instantly sharing their DIY works with beat scientists the world over. At Franklin & Marshall, the young Velasquez began getting busy on GarageBand software, self-taught and inspired by a plethora of like-minded beatmakers, and the wide array of sound design that had reached his ears on the Cloud come up. It’s natural to draw a line from the shapeshifting sampledelic creations of the late James “J-Dilla” Yancey, or innovators like Flying Lotus and Pretty Lights, and where Soundcloud-era producers like Flamingosis took the art form in their tidal wake.
Soon, the stream statistics began to reach the hundreds of thousands, then the millions: like Jay-Z once declared, “the numbers don’t lie.” Pretty soon a star was born, and he’s been steadily climbing ever since.
Beyond the boom-bap drums and the smoked-out sampling, Daymaker is projection-mapped with the color of vibrant live instrumentation. Colorado contributors read like a murderer’s row—keyboardist Borahm Lee (Pretty Lights Live), percussionist Jeff Franca (Thievery Corporation), bassist Hunter Roberts, guitarist Mike Tallman (Euforquestra), and hip-hop funk duo Recess, plus studio engineers Tallman, Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds), and Loren Dorland. Always open to collaborations in varying shapes, sizes, and geographies, for this magnum opus Flamingosis dialed up an all-star assembly of talent to better facilitate the soundscapes percolating in his spirited imagination.
Musical cultures from around the world are key to the prolific producer’s DNA; Velasquez has traveled this green Earth extensively, forever in search of the sound. When he touched down in Japan a few years ago, city pop musicians like Tatsuro Yamashita and Mariya Takeuchi resonated deeply. When Flamingosis explored the majesty of Brazil, it was the likes of Marcos Valle, Tim Maia, and Gal Costa‘s bossa-tinged sounds and samba-rock joints that really piqued his curiosity. All of these elements, artists, environments, and global expeditions have informed the collection of songs that comprise Daymaker.
Sampling remains integral to Flamingosis’ process and productions; passages and snippets of Graham Central Station, The Voices of East Harlem, Niteflyte, and a smattering of others pepper the tracks throughout Daymaker. Flamingosis displays a humble reverence for the songs of yesterday, their genius deftly reimagined and repurposed for tomorrow.
The album’s title and sequencing are intended to imply a crystallized space and time: the completed daily cycle from morning to afternoon to night. The music flows in such a way that one can imagine it soundtracking a 24-hour timespan in our everyday lives. The singles Flamingosis uncorked in the run-up to the release are among the strongest material, but the record really shines brightest when consumed from front to back without interruption.
“Wild Summer” is a feel-good anthem that provides a proper bounce and point of detonation, a song perfect for sunny rays and beach vibes, yet so piping hot it should transcend mortal seasons for many years to come.
Flamingosis – “Wild Summer” (Official Video)
Title track “Daymaker” shifts gears and surfs styles with joyful aplomb, incorporating a variety of sounds and textures atop a driving, assertive drum pattern. Flamingosis teamed up with animator Nick Parente for an urbanized video treatment, choice visuals that compliment the sound art in concert with the song’s intention.
Flamingosis – “Daymaker” (Official Video)
“Make it Happen” channels the cultural traditions and festive celebrations inherent in Latin music, a buoyant number rich in live instrumentation and built for a smoldering dancefloor. The Eddie Hazel-charged “Sunnyvale” incorporates blazing psychedelic guitar and evokes the early days of Pretty Lights. “Avenue of the Fireflies” arrives late in the journey, a cool-out mission that is perfect for a descent towards landing the Daymaker spacecraft.
“Cosmic Feeling” pulls the vessel into port, an ethereal track engineered by Tallman and Roberts, co-founders of Color Red, and an appropriate disembarkation point. Flamingosis recruited Tandem Media to create an accompanying animated video that takes the viewer on a journey through the cosmos.
Flamingosis – “Cosmic Feeling” (Official Video)
Flamingosis’ latest effort is an eclectic adventure that revels in the textures, vibrations, and aesthetics of yesteryear, but exists in the here and now, and boldly leans into the future. Plenty of Velasquez’s trademark melodic themes abound, and irresistible hooks are built from buried, scrambled samples. Those ever-familiar electro elements are brilliantly juxtaposed with pulsating live percussion, intergalactic synths, and funky-ass guitars, to create a sonic amalgamation of past, present, and the great unknown to come.