Monday 24 October 2022

'You Were Probably Younger Then' by FLOCKS

'You Were Probably Younger Then' is the new album release from Chicago/Cincinnati-based trio, FLOCKS.

Unveiled through Asta Hiroki's Folded Music - which is having a great year in of themselves with releases from fthmlss, Bon-Psy and Catch92 - FLOCKS' distinct and unique amalgamation of jazz with twinges of electronica make a brilliant addition to the label's eclectic and dynamic roster.

The FLOCKS collective were initially presented as a duo comprising of Josh Jessen on keys and synths and Tom Buckley on drums with their self-titled debut album having been released in 2018.  Although the music served as an excellent introduction to the group's bold and innovative vision, it was really when bassist Stephen Patota became officially incorporated into the, now, trio the following year, in time for their 2019 single 'CNX', that the final piece in the FLOCKS musical aesthetic puzzle had slot beautifully into place.

At its core, the FLOCKS project is an experiment - as justified via the band's Bandcamp page, "Humans making digital noises", this is a study into the harmony between man and technology with compositions that both celebrate and thrive on the indelible input of each.  Parking the notion of musically pairing jazz with electronica for a moment, the concept - from a thematic perspective - is particularly fascinating and deliciously intriguing to explore.  While many devotees may take issue with the increasing rise of streaming services or perhaps the reliance of overt studio wizardry to present vocalists as more talented than they may actually be, there are technological advances within the software, for example, that allow for high-end recording results from the luxury of one's own bedroom as opposed to the big-budget studio environment of days gone by.

It's a fantastic concept that works just as well musically as it does in theory and it's incredible how effortlessly FLOCKS are able to masterfully occupy this middle ground between these two seemingly disparate realms finding the aforementioned harmony between them.

'Fashion Camp' kicks the album off nicely bolstered by its lush instrumentation and synths and with the track's explosive crescendo serving as a real statement of intent to listeners going forward.  While tracks like 'A Thousand Videos' plunge the sound deeper into electronic territory, and 'Tethered/Untethered' help to accentuate the album's more ambient aesthetic, it's the unbridled energy of 'Counterfeit' and 'Find, Fix, Finish' where FLOCKS really excel.  Flawless tracks.  [And for an added bonus, be sure to check out the Asta Hiroki edit of 'Counterfeit' which shines a great perspective on a brilliant multi-layered song.]

'You Were Probably Younger Then' boasts some wonderful moments further establishing FLOCKS as a compulsory voice for today's jazz music scene.

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