Review of the new album by Flutatious called 333.
While the second album established the “Flutatious sound”, this third release called 333 pushes the band’s influences. It’s like whatever styles they have incorporated in their recording career are given nods here.
There are still common elements like the vocal layering and airy pieces but their sound has become more upfront and confident. The opening track 333 A Call To Arms features a male voice reciting a line in a poem. The fusion of keys and flute bring out that fantasy feel. The track builds up into a typical Flutatious salvo: great rhythms, instrumental fireworks and traditional inspired melodies.
Everyone in the band contributes to the vocal layering in Crystal Morning. It creates that diaphanous magical feel.The sound changes from dense to airy. Horny is perhaps made for fans of 70‘s spy of kung fu movies. The funky guitars, saxophone and beats are the real winners here. This is Celtic music with bell bottoms and polyester. Whenever I put this on I feel as if I am the late Bruce Lee.
Open Window has a strong jazz influence. The track has varying tempo and mood. Like clouds changing shape before your very eyes, it has several layers and textures. Around 5:40 there is that insertion of male voice doing a Lord of the Rings sort of narration.
Wise Tree is very Druidic and relates to that belief that trees are great store houses of our memories. What’s in the Tea speaks to me a lot. I am all smiles when I listen to this. I am a tea lover as well. There is that spacey feel in the introduction, and then the track blossoms into a hip swaying, head shaking wall of sound. Somewhere around 3:30 the music changes mood with hammering drums and fiery guitar licks and then goes back into the serene mood.
Tune for Addy revisits the mood of Horny with it’s funky 70‘s feel. It also features an ethereal female voice near the end. I am sure if the band capitalizes in the vocal abilities of each member, they would wow fans of vocal music.
Mesmerize as the title suggests is a haunting tracks which starts out slow. It showcases the play of acoustic guitar and flute. Around 1:00 of the track, it blossoms into a combination of electronic layers and psychedelia. The melody suggests either Welsh or Scottish origin. Nadurra is a Scottish Gaelic word which means ‘affectionate or good-natured.”It starts with the breezy piano playing and flowers into a steady rhythm that makes you think of quiet walks along the Scottish Highlands.
Road to Skye(revisited) closes the album. It takes the sound from the previous version of the song with an added twist. There is that ambient electronic pulse that hovers all over the track like sonar rotating around an axis point. It is a perfect rave track that will please the crowd. I can imagine sweat drenched concert floors and moving bodies hypnotized by the pulsing sound.
333 is an album of shimmering layers and atmospheric delights. It is meant for those with matured taste and can appreciate and even recognize the different genres entangled in whole album. Flutatious is meant to be played in big speakers with good sub-woofers.Yes there are intricate layers of sounds here but you can’t deny the punch and bounce they bring. And if you can savour them all, then you have yourself a truly satisfying listening experience. A kind of music that speaks to all.
Posted by Baxter Labatos on November 23, 2012 in The Celtic Fan Magazine
This album took me more than 10 listens before I decided to post a review. There are things we ignore about a song( or an entire album) with just few listens. Flutatious is a band that is both complex and minimalist in its approach sound recording.
Headsets or speakers, the slick production qualities are notable. This is a further step from their debut album. The style becomes well-defined. It seems that the band deepens whatever kind they based their influence in this album, composed of 10 songs.
Tracks like Wendel The Witch and Consumption come out with adventurous sonic blows that really defines the band’s eclectic style. There are slow tunes like Haste ye Back and River of Ae that nod on their New Age roots but tracks like Dragonfly and Drunken Drummer clearly define their Celtic heritage.
I recommend that you should NEVER skip a track when you listen to an album because it is like a journey. Every track tells you a story or a piece of a puzzle that completes the whole mystery which is the album. I prefer albums as opposed to singles.
An album is like a cathedral. Every track contributes to its architecture. What I see in Flutatious 2 is a great body of work. I can’t wait for the next album!
The Celtic Music Fan magazine, July 2012
Flutatious – Sonic Rock Solstice, Builth Wells.
There were ten bands/artists on the third day of this festival – alternating from stage to stage. Amongst them all was a London based group by the name of Flutatious, who were already nearing the end of their opening number as I eventually angled my way to gain a better view. The flute and violin fronting this six-piece were sufficient in themselves to capture my attention. Michelle Devonshire, a classically trained flautist, and Stella Ferguson, a fiddler supreme, traded places with ease and fluency. The male contingent complemented the ensemble with guitars, keyboard and percussion and, all in all, the ensuing sound was dervish in nature and whirlwind in delivery.
Their music has been described as folk-rock, Celtic, psychedelic and trance which, in the words of some promoters, has been translated as fusion/folk/dance – and it was the fusion of all these genres that certainly entranced the jigging crowd. The sparring between flute and violin created a variance of tempo within which the guitar keyboard would unexpectedly, or sometimes not, stake their respective claims. The contributing vocals were measured in such a way that they did not intrude but were a welcome addition to half the set list.
With songs like ‘Trippy Jig’, ‘Drunken Drummer’ and ‘Spacechick; interweaving with ‘Wendel the Witch’ and ‘Road to Skye’, I think the titles themselves conjure up an intriguing image of what this band is all about.
The rousing appreciation from the audience confirmed my instincts – the surrounding, tangible energy has stayed with me and I’m already wanting more.
Peter Needham, Classic Rock Society
Flutatious are a young band from UK. Their sound is made of dreams of different cultures; you find there fusion and jazz-elements but also celtic, Scottish and Progressive and Spacerock elements. Their songs are full of melodical dreams. The songs are based with a groovy rhythm and the amazing sounds of keyboards, flute, violin and guitar.
Most of the songs are instrumental. Sometimes vocals are in but more as an effect as an instrument. On the rhythm of the songs you can dance or dream or both; each person who had the honour to be in the same room as me when I played the songs for writing a good review, were swinging and the heads were shaking.
The timeless beauty of these songs earn full ten points in all categories.
Hawkzine 29th November 2010
Also this album is timeless, beautiful and filled with amazing sounds. With the same line-up as the first album, Flutatious are still the first address for timeless, beautiful fusion, mixed with jazzy elements, celtic dreams, Scottish and Irish legends and mythological melodies.
You can hear their songs in a disco, in a pub, or on the party with your class-mates. You can relax or dance or just have a good time. Most of the songs are filled with the melodical phrases of the violin and the flute. Sometimes it seems like a duel, when the flute starts a melody that is continued by the violin.
Sometimes you’ll hear some some voices inside the songs; more as another sound-element than singing.
If you like bands like Camel, Clannad or Tannahill Weavers, you would love this band. The music is for classical fans also as awesome as for jazz, fusion or celtic rock fans.
Ten points in all categories!!! Isk
Hawkzine 29th November 2010
“…I can tell you by far that this is my number 1 instrumental UK album of the year bar none; a brilliant piece of research, muscianship and aura.” Gene (British Breakfast) Pembleton
FLUTATIOUS sheer excellence!
Just wanted to add this to say what a ripping it up, knees up, funked out, fluffed up, vibed out amazing gig, as always! ripe for a psychos waltz (john cleese stylee) loved it! Kent Music News August 2009
“relaxed vibe, mellow flute-led Ozricsness, all jazzy and mellow Gong-like instrumentals. Three tracks – opener called Spacechick that maybe gives you an idea or two as to where the North West London band are coming from. Flutes, fiddles, jazzy space rock and free-festi mellowness, healthy hint of folk, bits of forward moving progressive groove. Kind of fluid band you’d have found at places like Club Dog in the early 90’s. Seems they have a whole album that they’ve been selling at gigs and such, good stuff “ Organ Magazine 2009
“pure good trippy music thats beyond definition, is it folk, is it psychedelic, is it neo classical or something else altogether. Whatever, it’s very good. Just let it wash over you and enjoy.” Alan Whittaker 2009
“I’ve gotta say that I rather enjoyed the hippy-trippy synthy-electro folk rock, from London, combo Flutatious – featuring one of those electric-clarinet ‘instruments of wind’. This was quality festival fare from an outfit that wouldn’t be out of place at the Big Chill.” Andy O’hare 2009
“with their refreshing mix of thumping beats, with liberal doses of old English merriment, Flutatious were a delight to behold.” Gigphotographer May 2009
“six piece ethereal folk/rock/dance band, currently performing at shows and festivals throughout the uk. When on form (every time I’ve seen them) they rock and you just can’t help dancing!” David R Murphy
” …next the real music begins. It’s from “FLUTATIOUS” and the track is called “Spacechick”, Flutatious are one of those bands that when you hear the demo that’s come through the post you get a tingle shooting up your spine and you know you have to book them. They will go down so well on the Drystone, wait until you hear what they’ve done with a brief snippet of Faure’s “Pavane” ” Wizardmarra Drystone Stage, Solfest
“back by demand, they had everyone dancing, even the bar staff, superb Celtic rock folk band, get your dancing shoes on, amazing live act .”
Flutatious, by Flutatious [3 January 2009 14:00:53]
Flutatious, by Flutatious is one of those albums that is almost impossible to define, categorise or shelf. You cannot define it as being of one genre or another; you cannot do the usual comparisons with like; but neither can you just put it on the shelf. Once it’s in the player, it tends to stay there.
The folk, rock and classical influences are all there, but you cannot point to one other artist and say ‘they’re like them’, because, well, they’re not. Some comparisons may cite such noteables as Nigel Kennedy or Vanessa Mae, but to do so would be to actually detract from what it is Flutatious do. And to merely state that folk/rock/classical fusion is where Flutatious are at, demeans the wealth of influences, talents and skills and, when you’re deep into a track like Spacechick, it’s limiting.
There are 10 tracks on the album, from the aptly-named Intro, to Road To Skye, which is I’m sure, a musical tribute to the circumstances that brought Flutatious together.
Spacechick is classical, with flute and violin; it is rock, with ‘subtle’ guitar, upside-down bass and pots and pans; add the jazzy piano into the mix and you have a track that, for Flutatious fans (like me), is destined to become ‘classic’ in its own right. It is rocky beat and guitar riffs. It is flute, violin and piano counterparts and depth – it’s a bit like a trance construction, but (in true Eric Morecambe style) with all of the ‘wrong’ instruments. Or at least, played on instruments you would not expect for that genre, if indeed ‘genre’ is even relevant here.
Venus opens with Bass and Drum rolling out a strutting, jazzy rhythm. In comes the flute with lifting, more vigerous melody, whilst the piano syncopates with the bass. When the violin adds a celtic feel, preparing the way for the vocals, you feel the song is well underway – but there’s more to come. The drums develop into a more rocky rhythm, providing the backdrop onto which the guitar can enter the scene and we are submerged again in the soundscape that is Flutatious, before returning to the original theme. The build-up begins afresh and we are treated to a longer rocky theme before the track returns you gently back to Earth with its gentle refrain.
Trippy Jig is as the title suggests, upbeat; a celtic dance, but with phsychedelic overtonal interludes. It could be labelled ‘Celtic Rock’, but such is the delivery that the phrase ‘Celtic Rock’ itself sounds 2-dimensional and lacking in justice to the track.
Perhaps a more ‘traditional’ approach to the celtic/folk dance is Morag’s Dance, with haunting violin to start, countered by the guitar, overlaid onto the drums and piano. Moving onto a a livlier refrain, the flute teasingly adds another level as the track gathers momentum, resulting in a most pleasing sound that I defy anyone to not enjoy.
Jazzy Jig is one of the very few tracks that I can point to and say I have something with which to compare it – there appear to be definite Ian Anderson influences here, but the track is not Jethro Tull – it’s definitely Flutatious, and as soon as the track develops beyond the intro, you know this.
Eurabin Falls has such an interesting name – but an internet search finds only …. a Bill Forwell YouTube page with – this track played live at Grosmont (Yorks). So is ‘Eurabin’ made up? Or have I fallen victim to a Bill Forwell joke (you’re a bin)? Whatever, and no matter; the track is a mix of Country folk, Irish Jig and Scottish Reel, all rolled into one – a real toe-tapper. This track has magic about it; if you’re standing you cannot help but dance, even if only a little bit and, if you’re stuck in traffic, it blows away the frustration (I know this. This album has been running round and round in my car for weeks now). Definitely a track to ease the depression – in fact it’s so good at that, it should be available at all good chemists.
Tha i Ban (‘i ban’ means ‘I peak’ or ‘in order to peak’, in Welsh – is this relevant?) begins with gentle, rolling piano, with violins entering with a typically haunting theme that sweeps you up before the guitar starts to build up a tension, and, moments later the song ameliorates into a series of real, thumping rhythms, with wonderful violin-and-piano interludes of calm. A driving track, a vehicle for
Flutatious to show off their individual talents and virtuosities, whilst maintaining the tightness and adhesion of a group truly working together. In this track, the truth behind the adage ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ becomes evident. Tha I Ban is an excellent track and you could be forgiven for thinking that if any one track shows us what Flutatious actually are, this may be it.
Angelina does not sound like, nor could you say there are definite influences as such, but rather hints of similarities with Trespass-era Genesis, maybe even Brian Auger or Roland Kirk, but it’s all Flutatious. A classicly pleasant beginning, driven by a compelling beat, becoming a psychedlic trip back to days of Californian Sunshine before returning to the celtic-but-not-quite original melody. Again, starting slow, building up, breaking off and building up again – Flutatious take you on a journey of varying heights in their own special way.
Road To Skye couldn’t be anything but Scottish Folk taken to new levels in the way Flutaious do this. The song develops once again into a hearty rhythm that would be perfectly at home at any celebration of ‘highland-ness’. Is the aboriginal chanting from kilt-clad caber throwers – or a Native American fusion? Whatever, it comes as a surprise – not because it’s out place, but because by the time you’ve realised it should be, it’s gone and it wasn’t at all. A great track, another great feel-good track and a perfect way to end a truly excellent album.
review by SNAK
‘Taking music where it never thought to go’
Before 2008 faded away in an abundance of retail implosion and credit strangulation I heard a band that that fits the over used ‘unique’ word perfectly. And what’s more they offered me their eponymous album ‘Flutatious’ to review – as it turned out a great way to wave goodbye to 2008.
According to one view: ‘Flutatious are dragging folk into the 21st century’. More accurately they are pulling together a disparate variety of musical genres (folk being but one) and collectively taking them somewhere they never thought to go.
Flutatious are Andy Faulkner (guitars) Bill Forwell (bass) Michelle Devonshire (flute) Stella Ferguson (violin) Gerald Williams (keyboards) and Malcolm Bailey (drums, percussion). Their combination of instruments, styles and influences create an network of musical webs that alternately caress and cajole then urge and seduce. With a gig list that ranges from traditional canal festivals to the Hawkfest, the depth of their music increases as you listen – and when you do you’ll begin to understand why Flutatious have a broad and expanding eclectic following.
There’s folk, rock, psyche, classical, jazz and virtually everything else under the musical sun seeping through their music. Many bands defy definition or groan under inaccurate comparisons as reviewers and audiences attempt restricting definitions. With Flutatious that’s wasted effort, because in truth there’s only one Flutatious. There is so much depth and variation in their music that you could grow old trying to categorise it. So don’t try to define – just fall into their melodious melange. Wallow in melody to your heart’s content. Don’t bludgeon your brain for largely superfluous definitions. Relax into a harmonious blend that effortlessly combines Cossack dances, Scottish jigs, rock anthems, folk rhythms and psychedelic waves. Take a trip that is never one way but always circular – taking you there and bringing you back.
But what of the album? After the pulsating rising ‘Intro’ fades away you’re into ‘Spacechick’ that punches into your ears with flute, violin, keyboards and guitar duelling across a platform of solid thumping bass. This sets the ‘Flutatious scene’ and provides the album’s first anthemic track. ‘Trippy Jig’ is a tune of mythical dance and ethereal messages with voices that draw fantasy pictures in your mind – if you listen carefully you can almost hear the faeries joining in with the psychedelic jigs.
In ‘Jazzy Jig’ the flute reflects an Ian Anderson guise and that’s not entirely unexpected, neither is it a negative comment – far from it. Most bands struggle to position the flute with any style but Jethro Tull and Flutatious achieve it expertly. There’s also a ghost of Mr Anderson’s ‘folkier’ style in the next track – my absolute favourite – ‘Eurabin Falls’. This expertly mixes flute and violin into a maze of jigs and reels. If you can sit still while this is playing you’re probably already dead and don’t know it yet.
‘Tha i Ban’ combines some charismatic piano and violin to introduce a cutting guitar that leads in a whirling blend of musical patterns that chase each other across the tune. ‘Road to Skye’, which closes the album (presumably their homage to the island of their genesis) takes Scottish folk roots far beyond the highland glens. Intense bass drive and melody combine with strange chanting to create true Celtic warrior music.
The financial meltdown may well continue through 2009 but Flutatious will make it all the more bearable as they take you to different worlds. And should you have any cash left their next album will definitely be worth the investment when it arrives.