Following on from last year’s ‘The Phoenix’ LP on Hyperdub, Philadelphia veteran producer King Britt is returning to the London label this month with his Fhloston Paradigm alias. His latest venture under the Sci-Fi indebted, hardware-focussed project is a series of ‘Cosmosis’ EPs, with the first instalment – ‘Cosmosis Vol 1’ – out November 27. The EP builds further on the signature Fhloston Paradigm sound; deft synth work and pristine sound design that treads the line between harrowing and angelic.
In the lead-up to release this Friday, stream EP opener ‘Sonic Six’ below – a heady concoction of analogue drum workouts and growling bass, steadily building momentum before opening up into a soul-stirring assault. We also caught up with Fhloston Paradigm over email to discuss the inspiration behind this new series, the importance of Sun Ra and why Hyperdub was the right label for him…
What’s the concept behind the new series and what does ‘cosmosis’ mean to you?
I heard this term one day talking to friends. I don’t think it’s an official word but it means ‘at one with the universe’…I’m getting closer to that.
How do you feel ‘cosmosis’ – this sense of being ‘at one with the universe’ – feeds into your music?
As an artist, I am channeling a higher power, for sure.
Is ‘Cosmosis’ a way of clearing the decks to work on a new sound, or is it more of a taster for the new album?
It’s both…clearing the decks but introducing a bit of the new with ‘Faith’.
Tell us a bit about the making of ‘Faith’ on the EP. It’s very patient, takes its time to unfold…
Yes, this is the direction for the new album. I have been heavy into meditation the past few years and repetition is really playing more of an upfront part in the new Fhloston consciousness…layers of repetition. ‘Faith’ was written during many of the young black youth killings in the USA. That’s why it’s so melancholy but at the same time has a sense of hope and faith. Also, I have a good friend, Faith Newman, who I talk to about these subjects often. So ‘Faith’ is all around.
How many volumes of ‘Cosmosis’ are you planning?
There are 2 while I work on the album. Each EP has a few ‘old world’ compositions and one ‘new world’, which are more ambient and meditative.
Are there are any plans to tour a live show for this project?
I have done around 8 full live shows with Pia Ercole. I also did a tour remixing the album live. Always ready. There is a link on my website of a full live show including Mike Todd on visuals.
We recently read that your mother was friends with Sun Ra. Is there anything you remember from spending time with him when you were a child?
Yes, going to rehearsals and shows, and the amazing costumes…I thought they were super heroes. I recently played with Marshall Allen in Philly at the Outside Festival and it was an honour. He remembered meeting my mom but that was so long ago.
What do you think today’s artists can learn from Sun Ra’s mission?
He created his own universe and world. From the sounds to the clothes to the philosophy. Total uniqueness and this is missing in so much music today …also that your sound cannot be compromised or bought.
Sci-Fi cinema is clearly a major influence on you, what is it about this area of film that speaks to you?
As a kid I was always fascinated with worlds beyond our knowledge and what they would be like. Would they be more peaceful? Would there be no racism? These type of questions. So I fully embrace these ideas in this project.
You’ve mentioned previously that during the making of ‘The Phoenix’ you re-scored scenes from some of your favourite Sci-Fi films – is working on music for film something you’re keen to continue?
I have worked on many films. I’ve worked closely with Michael Mann on Miami Vice and a few scenes in Public Enemies as well as a few commercials (all on my site). I’ve been getting the bug again recently, after seeing Ex Machina and Under The Skin (Mica Levi), these are scores that I feel I could do because of the sounds and design. So I am prepared and ready.
We loved Under The Skin…What are some of your other favourite Sci-Fi soundtracks?
Traffic, Buffalo ’66, Three Days Of The Condor, anything by Atticus Ross, and Blade Runner, of course!
Have you ever turned down soundtrack work because you felt it wasn’t right for you?
Yes! That’s what kind of made me sour with my pursuit of that world. But I feel now if I put my intention out there, it will naturally happen
How does your soundtrack work inform your work for Hyperdub? Are you always thinking about your music in a visual way?
Always visual. My first album as Sylk130 – ‘When The Funk Hits The Fan’ – is a mini movie with my friends acting.
Artwork must be important to you. Who did the cover for the EP?
Absolutely! Joshua Mays, who did the first album cover too! He is from Philly but lives in Oakland…absolute genius! I mean his mind is so intricate…bad bad brother!
What attracted you to working with Hyperdub in the first place?
I was attracted first by their fearlessness and not giving a fuck attitude. That is why they are so groundbreaking. Then I loved the fact that they let you do your thing. They trust 100%. I would have never signed if this wasn’t the case, I could have just continued to put stuff out myself.
Fhloston Paradigm’s ‘Cosmosis Vol 1’ is out November 27 on Hyperdub. Pre-order it here.
Image: John Kaufman