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Flamingods
Moon Stuart Huggett , August 18th, 2015 12:07

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Moon is a belated, track-by-track rework of Flamingods' 2012 debut Sun, a patchwork mix of songs and loose jams using instruments picked up on the band's global travels. Shunted out of sequence by sparkling second album Hyperborea, its gestation is enough of a labour of love for it to finally arrive on vinyl with a lush, prismatic sleeve painting from Polish born, Brighton based artist and musician Eva Bowan. Gathering remixes from friends, collaborators and touring partners lends Moon the feel of a broad community, one that reflects Flamingods' shifting roots.

Sun itself has already gone through two versions: the Art Is Hard release that forms the basis for Moon preceded by a markedly different attempt at the album, still available on Bandcamp. It's possible to see Moon as less a simple gathering of mixes, and more an evolutionary step for Flamingods' early music, tracks that grew from pressure-free jams, laid down on tape without the intention of creating definitive versions, left free to develop and grow.

In this light, it makes sense that the results collected on Moon, however rich, are largely sympathetic pieces rather than radical ones. The album is bookended by former Ponytail guitarist Dustin Wong's giddy, vari-speed manipulation of 'Sun' and Brighton trio Hypnotized's dub wash of 'Oh Maya', both of which follow the trails of Flamingods' originals pretty faithfully. More thorough overhauls arrive with Octochamp's clonking take on 'Cimbala' and fellow Londoner Mobbs' ping-ponging cut-up of 'If You Can Walk', while Argentinian producer eSmink's digidub version of 'Quesso' swaps Wong's original wriggling guest guitar for rippling marimba and an imaginary Sly And Robbie rhythm section.

Most striking is Kuro BC's extrapolation of 'Cacao', from a slight interlude of strummed strings and plucked mbira into a solid judder of electro beats and pitched-down chord strikes. With similarly little to work from, Happy Cat takes percussion fragment 'Papaya' and embarks on a leisurely, midnight funk keyboard solo. Both My Panda Shall Fly's version of 'Kinich Ahau' and Zequals' remix of 'Mountain Hut' also seize upon the band's fondness for drum and percussion jams, tightening up Flamingods' casual performances to create a spacious, prickly rhythm tracks.

With its source material since surpassed by the blend of field recordings and trawled YouTube samples on Hyperborea, even the freshest reinventions on Moon can't help but feel like throwbacks, however, their impact lessened by the time-lag. Speed up the turnaround and such vivid work might escape the fans' only slot remix albums fall into.

As it is, Moon is inevitably something of a place-holder, marking time until the band's currently in-progress third album proper arrives (for an even more curious collaborative venture, seek out this summer's The Kill Shop vs Flamingods VHS album, released in conjunction with Brixton video artist Niall Trask, and complete with 3D glasses for that third-eye widening, early 90s rave tape feel). Plucked from this context, Moon still succeeds as a joining of the dots, a reinforcing of the borderless network that unites Flamingods and their allies around the world.