An ode to music, and in particular the underground Hip Hop scene he’s helped lift to new heights recently, the fourteen Molotov produced tracks of Fliptrix’s fifth studio album Polyhymnia play as a light hearted, largely care free celebration of a life dedicated to talking fast over beats. A lucky life that may be, but no one can say it’s not one he’s earnt. The founder of a label that never long leaves this website and has had a large hand in sparking what will no doubt go down in history as a golden age of Uk Hip Hop, his solo output is merely one arm of his resume; the nights High Focus puts on ramming some of London’s most esteemed venues, his crew The Four Owls putting out one of the most loved modern UK classics in the form of Nature’s Greatest Mystery and the massive variety of Hip Hop the imprint puts out gracing the pages of even the most esteemed publications. In short, his work rate is seemingly unstoppable and, as a piece of music, Polyhymnia goes some way to describing just where that thirst comes from, putting to wave form the thoughts of a man obviously in love with his craft.
It’s the fun loving nature of his music that shines through and makes the album what it is; from the ecstatic Jeheeze’s of the opening track of the same name, that instantly recognizable signature phrase introducing him alongside energetic bass twangs and quick fire flows, to Lean Star Gazer’s tales of musical freedom and escapism, low fi drum rolls and crashing open hats lending them a dramatic atmosphere. However, life isn’t always loving and nothing ever get’s done if you’re too kind, so it’s fitting that Vultures shows the other side of a love of underground music; a bitter hatred of the soul-less mainstream. Underground warfare, blood boiling bass twangs set the pace for an up front sound as Fliptrix lays into the consumerism and fake nature of commercial music, showing that he’s not all peace and love when it counts. It’s a bold stance but, thankfully, one that his fan base and current buzz means he can back up as he slowly drags Uk Hip Hop through success after success, laying down a call to arms and aggressive manifesto for real music to stand up and take it’s shine by any means in the form of one of the album’s true bangers, crashing, burning sound effects and perfectly timed cutaways adding an extra level of in your face attitude.
Entirely produced by long time collaborator Molotov, his vast range of beats allow Fliptrix to travel across vibes throughout, light and airy sounds such as the high pitched pianos and constant shakers of Here Today, Gone Tomorrow encouraging a fast paced and up beat flow while the dark, ominous strings, pianos and the head nodding break of The Warning takes Fliptrix down a much more sinister vibe entirely, bringing out some of his most complex rhyme schemes and engaging flows over the much more sparse break. A particular highlight, the deep bassline and creeping atmospherics of title track Polyhymnia mixes spacious drums with a constant shaker as Fliptrix’s almost unbelievably breathless flows join the albums most immersive hook.
Elsewhere, Wavey‘s warm bass and intricate drums lend themselves perfectly to a infectiously smiling good times tune, wheeling up shortly in before introducing a piercing soprano sax that finishes off the bouncing, foot tapping funk and the inventive vocal chorus backing of Highway Traveller meets a stunning wind sample for one of my personal favourite’s, the meditative beat perfectly complimenting Fliptrix’s contemplative bars as he takes it back to previous album The Interdimensional Piff Highway, giving it a more thoughtful slant. As seems to have become a Fliptrix tradition in recent albums, an alternative garage beat and more skippy flow forms the penultimate track and is once again a really nice step back from the album’s constant boom bap. Further showing his variety, Molotov’s squelching snare and atmospheric female vocal hums intersperse with melancholic pianos, an emotive violin sliding in for a stunning chorus that completes the track before a long instrumental ending allows a moment of contemplation before the final track.
Light on it’s number of features but heavy on their impact, Rag N Bone Man’s incredible harmonies once again add his soulful presence onto a golden sound in the form of Praise the Sun, introducing the laid back, naturally shuffling beat, light cymbals and complex bass melodies of another smile twitching sound, while a long overdue collaboration with Task Force legend Chester P comes to life on Alchemic Vessel. Amongst heavy kicks and funk bass, Fliptrix’s percussive flow is allowed to shine through as the breaks cut out to sparse patterns before Chester’s punching, flawless flow and natural mic presence instantly steals the show as an aggy verse takes it back to old school Task Force, truly stomping the beat into the floor. Lastly, and perhaps most excitingly, we get a teaser of what to expect from the forthcoming Four Owls album as Fliptrix’s three nocturnal companions join him on Reflections. Given a new sound by the introduction of Molotov on the beat, laid back jazz pianos and heavily chopped melodies work really well alongside their contemplations on the past, more emotive then the event based classic Back in the Day, as they once again bring their chemistry to a killer sound.
More relaxed and jokey then his first three but with a less immature slant than The Road to the Interdimensional Piff Highway, Polyhymnia finds a nice balance between the happy and the sombre, the punch drunk and the thoughtful, as Fliptrix once again pens an immersive, replayable snapshot of his mind state. Referencing his past albums in parts, Wavey channeling the stomping Wylin’ Out and Highway Traveller directly following on from his most recent offering, it still brings a new attitude and atmosphere to the table; a statement and appreciation of his underground success and a love letter to the music that’s got him there. As Terrance MeKenna, a speaker Fliptrix has often referenced and sampled, leads the whole album out we’re left to contemplate the cultural significance of the relatively unheard underground and the importance of those such as Fliptrix that follow their heart and lead that of others. Follow him over to the High Focus website to pick up your copy now.