London born, Brighton based High Focus linchpin Fliptrix, releases his eighth solo album ‘Light Work’ on the record label he founded back in 2010. This 16 track project adds to what is already a weighty body of solo work from the adept old pro, not including his additional contributions as a quarter of the acclaimed Four Owls, an impressive feat that few could rival in the UK Hip Hop scene in it’s current state. Notable works by Fliptrix include ‘The Road to Interdimensional Piff Highway‘ and ‘Patterns of Escapism‘, releases which some would call pioneering, they also helped launch global tours and a dedicated fanbase from around the globe. The new album addresses some deep-rooted issues, especially the current state of the covid world but has an overarching message of peace, openess and optimism mixed in with the hard-hitting narrative. It features a variety of producers, a dusting of guest artists and a broad range of lyricism, which Fliptrix states as being “…the culmination of years of experience, emotion, research and love. Crafted to heal, fulfil my desire to create and further raise vibrations..”, helping to fashion an open forum where he can talk about his mind-altering experiences, spirituality and dedication to the exploration of consciousness. This is an album forged in the upper echelons of rap but what was the end result?.. we sampled some of the elixir..
The album opens with the titular ‘Light Work’, some tight production from Drae Da Skimask is topped with a bombardment of word play from Flip where he eats up the track without taking a breath, smoothly assembled keys, strings and rimshots blend together nicely. Doctor Zygote produces ‘Holy Kush’, piano chords mix with briskly paced drum patterns and comes accompanied with a fantastic looking video filmed by Loudhouse, in the outskirts of London. Controversial single ‘Problem, Reaction, Solution’ starts with a sombre sentiment ‘..it’s 2020, the end of the world as we know it..’, which everyone can relate to I’m sure, however this track has certainly created a state of disagreement, all you need do is read the comments on the video to see that. Fliptrix creates a whirlwind of politically charged lyrics and conspiracy talk, using terms like ‘scam-demic’ and ‘plan-demic’ which has clearly split opinions but is still expertly presented on some slick sounding Illinformed beats, classical strings build and interlace with vocal samples on snappy drums, one where you need to properly listen to the lyrics, go do that.
Cleverly broken bars are layered across ‘multicolour’, which features a haunting vocal sample permeating throughout the swift production by DEDWS, lyrics are kept flush to the beat and drums kick. ‘Shoe Laces’ and ‘Powerizm’ are both produced by Yabu, some curious, futuristic beat choices to hallucinate to, the video for Powerizm also includes a dedication to graffiti writer POW (RIP), worth checking out. There is some Leaf Dog goodness on ‘C4’ where Fliptrix is joined by the rest of the parliament of owls, clearly a stand out track on the album but it’s too action packed not to be, the track is decorated with cuts by ukhh veteran DJ Jazz T… “..you got a crew you better tell ’em..”. ‘Alignment’ also features cuts by DJ Thor, all great authentic works. The final track off the release ‘Vibes’ is a untroubled smooth sign off with beat work from Chemo, it has positive energy, a great hook and a beautifully shot video on the Sussex Downs, as well as Brighton Marina, lovely song. Other tracks worth mentioning are ‘Stethoscope’, the brooding ‘Broken Glass’ and ‘The Realisation Part 2’, some really vivid story telling here. There are a tonne of songs on the album, way too many to mention but a wide array to choose from, so most should be spoilt for choice.
After querying the nature of the unusual album artwork (and the singles), it was confirmed that they are heavily influenced by sacred geometry, something Fliptrix has been into since 2012 and started implementing into a lot of his designs. The album doesn’t specifically have sacred geometry within it, however it is all geometrical so it’s heavily influenced by it. The cover represents light work, peace, love, unity, going back to the source, finding yourself, finding tranquillity within and recentering. At the bottom there are nine dots, five above, four below, they represent the titles to spell out Light Work. The purple is significant of the pineal gland, the third eye chakra, the yellow is the crown, the opening of the crown chakra, the blue represents finding the source and the light blue represents a heart, pretty fascinating stuff.
“…You can’t grin when there’s blood in your teeth, or even run when you tough the defeat, truth will come you can’t cover deceit, love the sun, when its summoned from the East, that’s the summer solstice where I find peace. Sometimes I feel like I’m lost in this world, then I realise that I’m flying on a rock through space..and I giggle cos it’s weird, off my face but I’m wasted in a way I can’t explain, it’s not clear, still I keep my head up and I look to the sky and walk forth cos I got to persevere..”
“… coming with the sickest scandals, twisted rituals make sonic sacrifice, depopulate make room for the appetite blood on their hands, as they hand cuff your ankles, swab your mouth and take DNA samples, install the app on the phone so they track you, mark of the beast, they’ll plant chips in your hand soon…”
Some may prefer Fliptrix’s slower story driven narratives to the hype man, grimey double time bars but this is all down to personal preference, either way the delivery is sharp and deliberate and thoroughly enjoyable.
This is a formidable eighth outing from the High Focus player manager, the big owl does it again adding to what is an already huge repertoire of songs, great mix of producers and raising some eyebrows in the process.
‘Light Work’ is out now on all digital channels, CD, cassette tape and limited edition turquoise vinyl, grab yours now. There is also a fantastic looking yellow/red 7″ vinyl single of ‘Powerism’ and ‘Holy Kush’ that crate diggers will love, as well as hoodies and tees, so merch it up people!
Did you like the Fliptrix album, what else are you listening to? Tweet me your thoughts.
Words by Theo Specone