Flamingosis’s career has spanned just over six years—from Summer Heat Vol. 2 in 2011 to the harrowing A Groovy Thing released this week in 2017, he has made a career out of computer-generated jazzy funk. His beginnings were infinitely more simplistic than the tracks laid out on A Groovy Thing—tracks taken from Summer Heat Vol. 2 really only involve basic jazz drum patterns with some guitar integration and haphazard vocal samples. However, as his practice has grown over the years, his production quality increased and smoothed out; ideas became increasingly clear with each track’s creation. It’s no wonder that A Groovy Thing follows a similar emotion from Bright Moments, his previous album released a year ago nearly to the day. Bright Moments is just as it sounds: a shining, bubbly soundtrack to illumination, glimmering on the edges of summer daydreams — an amazingly accurate preface to A Groovy Thing.
A Groovy Thing descends from that same structure—except this time, A Groovy Thing unfolds like a 1980’s funk jazz musical. It’s most obvious in the intro (“A Groovy Intro”), reminding one of a panning camera sweeping through summery New York’s jazz nightlife decades in the past, allowing the viewer to galvanize all of the coming tracks’ ephemera for a quick thirty-five seconds. The next track “don’t lose the feeling” quite literally feels like a scene change, a car driving into paradise for the start of the new beginning. Jazz vocal samples, an underlying motif in a lot of Flamingosis’ work, don’t start appearing until the third track, “want me (need me)” — the lyrics “do you need me, do you love me” float in and out of the flirtatious, inquisitive melody. The album takes your hand and guides you, pulling you in and out of smooth, sweet funk beats that leave you buzzed.
The only sour notes? Flamingosis’ collaboration with Birocratic—a frequent flyer on his discography—fell disappointingly short compared to the enticing partnership with Engelwood a track before. The piano melody presumably provided by Birocratic in “otaku mode” was a nice touch, but the track didn’t feel cohesive enough to avoid becoming background noise. The album picks back up again for two tracks, “keep shining (feat. The Kount)” and “come & get it (feat. YUNG BAE),” my personal favorite out of the group. “come & get it” tasted like a rehashed, tilted “I Wanna Be Your Lover” by Prince, along with the incorporation of pop-infused risers to modernize and equalize the track with Flamingosis’ style. After this track, though, “perserve (feat. Kyle Greene)” falls through — again, it struggles to maintain a separate kick and wavers in between a unique moment and dissociative background noise.
I honestly have next to no complaints for the rest of the album—Flamingosis has a sensual way of inviting variations and descendants into his funky melodies, and doesn’t really ever disappoint. It’s obvious he grabs from past legends — for a specific example, the harmonies on “not like the others” is a casual toast to Sinatra. It’s reminiscent of an abstracted, jazzy Amelia Airhorn, as if she was transported from New York City to a summertime town outside of Las Vegas. A Groovy Thing feels like water rushing past your face as you break the surface of a hotel pool, acoustic guitar strumming and sangria chilling.