Album Review: Welcome to the Internet by James Flamingo

(Image courtesy of Lost Angles.)

There’s something magical and bubbly coming from the collage-frenzy whirlwind of James Flamingo. Riding on the coattails of the squeaky clean, modernist sounds of the young metrosong genre, Welcome to the Internet is a welcome visual novel of modern plunderphonics and the state of the internet at large!

James Flamingo, a.k.a. John L. Hubbard of the former Cardboard Future label, presents us the long-awaited release that I almost feared wouldn’t surface. He is mostly responsible for coining the futuristic outlook of “metrosong,” a styling of music that favors concepts of eco-friendly and futuristic societies through organic and clean sampling. While these concepts are incorporated, there is noticeable similarity to his debut release, Daily Searches, with outsider and experimental sampling taking the forefront of the positive music it displays as a mask.

Out on Lost Angles, Welcome to the Internet is a fresh and almost innovative amalgamation of everything he’s released into one explosive and thought-provoking cauldron of collected sounds. There is no better way to introduce the entire concept and album than with the track, “‘E’ Country,” a thirteen minute epic of drone and ambient sounds. This track is impressive for the constant shift of modern sounds like iPhone notifications, fast food bubbling, computer technology whispers, and this juxtaposed  interpolation of nature sounds. It truly is describing the concept of an “internet country,” a vast land of information waiting to be admired and explored. Just as one gets comfy however, everything stops and switches gears for a cinematic finish of raving electronic fervor.

“‘E’ Country” by James Flamingo, courtesy of Lost Angles.

Imagery is everything with this album. “A Storm of Data” does literally sound like the vast ocean spewing the weirdest content and files it can burst from its data. “Graffiti!” and “Je Suis, Offline!” are standouts from the album, the former a cutesy synthpop track giving way to its blurry and eccentric canvas of vocal samples on its latter half. “Je Suis, Offline!” has similar manipulation of samples but creates an atmospheric landscape from the Microsoft launch sound and what seems to be synthesized Eastern music. Both tracks I feel summarize well the busyness and unique take on the internet through sounds and recordings.

“Graffiti!” by James Flamingo, courtesy of Lost Angles.

Welcome to the Internet is a release that will make one ponder, from the obscure sampling sources, to the voice recordings used, and even the title of the tracks as they seem to bring a vivid imagery of what each track will be about. Everything from chiptune, video game sound effects, old and retro soul/funk/pop songs, and audio manipulation will challenge and please the listener with how warm and inviting it is. While it has its remarkably silly moments with the cutesy music it introduces or ends off with, there’s no denying there is an underlying colossus when it comes to painting the canvas of what the internet would sound like on audio.

Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5/5)

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Cassette of Welcome to the Internet, courtesy of Lost Angles.

Get a copy of James Flamingo’s new release over at Lost Angles HERE.

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