On the heels of this summer's ethereal new album After ... , King Britt is bringing his project Fhloston Paradigm to Orlando. Coming up in Philadelphia, King Britt has spent his nearly three decades in music jumping between genres, projects and concepts. From DJing to producing to composing, Britt's career has spanned the electronic music landscape. As part of his latest evolution, the prolific artist is diving into the headspace of experimental ambience and analog synth pieces.
"I have always loved experimental sounds and textures," says Britt. "This project allowed me to dive heavy into this direction. Things happen when they are supposed to and 2009 was the year. I did a dedication to Charlie Cooper from Telefon Tel Aviv, who had passed away. Always loved their sound. I had so much fun during that process that I continued to dive deeper into my connection."
Fhloston Paradigm was born in 2012, with Britt focusing on lush and otherworldly soundscapes. His full-length debut, 2014's The Phoenix, trafficked more in the type of groove for which its label Hyperdub is known. This year's After ... , meanwhile, forgoes much of the percussion and club-ready feel of its predecessor for a more contemplative sound. Last September, Britt was prepared to bring the project to the Social and provide Orlando with a taste of his outré output, but the show was derailed due to hurricane Irma. Rescheduled for this week, Britt will finally bring Fhloston Paradigm to the Social for what's sure to be full immersion in the haunting landscape he's created.
As the album title and the name of each song implies, After ... deals heavily in looking back on bygone things. And while "... Life," "... Glow," and "... Touch" all evoke the ghostly quality of Fhloston Paradigm's newer sounds, "... Math" touches on something else that's been lost.
From the reverb-soaked, lyricless vocals to the stabs of analog synth, After ... effortlessly conjures an intergalactic feeling. But rather than an idyllic vision of the cosmos, the post-planetary journey being suggested is one of necessity. The album's title could easily be followed by a track called "... Earth," with the tone of the songs bringing to mind a world that's been lost. What's left is both the beauty and turmoil of a collapsed society, one that cherishes remnants of the past alongside the essential elements of the future. For Britt, these elements come courtesy of both pop culture and real-world events.
"So, I am a huge fan of the comic series Saga," Britt reveals. "The dystopian atmosphere in the series is a huge inspiration. Also just where our world seems to be headed, à la the film Children of Men and our current political climate. So, I wanted to have an album that heals the anxiety found in these environments."
Unsurprisingly, these concepts also tie into the project's name itself, as Fhloston Paradigm comes courtesy of the planet Fhloston Paradise in Luc Besson's campy sci-fi classic The Fifth Element. Britt explains, "That's one of my all-time favorite films. When they were discussing Korben going to Fhloston Paradise ... I said it wrong and my friend said 'Keep it!'" In the movie, the celestial body's vision of society is one where elegant aliens sing nuevo opera, fashion (designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier) and vice are currency, and gender and sexuality are just things to play with. And while Britt says the film had more of an impact on his previous album, it's hard not to hear echoes of Diva Plavalaguna's infamous aria in the ululating of Ryat and Jacqueline Constance on the tracks "... Glow" and "... The Storm," respectively.
Britt's Orlando show will unfortunately forgo what he calls the "bigger budget" version involving the many vocalists on After ... and will instead be a more intimate solo affair. But the use of voice as a sonic texture on the album certainly lends itself to a dissociative performance in which Britt oversees vocals and instrumentation in equal measure. The results will give this particular iteration of Fhloston Paradigm's live show an improvisational quality, one where the many layers of After ... will be re-created and rearranged for what seems destined to be a daring reimagining of the album and its soundworlds.