FLT RSK’s “People & Places” + Download
Athens electro-jam group FLT RSK make an impressive introduction the Georgia music scene with their debut EP – Sean PritchardSean Pritchard
out of 10
People and Places
June 21, 2011
I haven’t been able to see Athens, Georgia electro-jam group FLT RSK (Flight Risk) live yet. I intended to while I was covering AthFest the last weekend in June but I ran into friends that I hadn’t seen in a while and a group decision was made that it would be a good idea to start drinking around 6:00pm and the night became a blur until I was jolted awake by the mob of people trying to push their way into the 40 Watt. Realizing that I had missed their set (they were opening a stocked lineup for the Nomad Artists Showcase with local sensations REPTAR and nationally proclaimed “boy wonder” Ernest Greene and his outfit, better known as Washed Out.
This was a major disappointment on my end because friends around town had told me multiple times I needed to cover the band for “that website that you work on” and I had planned for this to be a great introduction to the band. Nonetheless, I tried to talk to a few people as the venue doors swung open and a crowd poured out following Reptar’s set. Reptar was the talk of the entire town that night I think, but the few people that I did catch up with had nothing but good things to say about FLT RSK. “They have an awesome live show! It reminds me of a mix between the stuff Mim0sa is doing and the most recent Perpetual Groove albums”, one fan said.
This is a fairly bold statement in my book, as both groups mentioned are currently on Summer tours where they’re selling out venues to 500-2000 people strong.
I decided that I could either linger outside the door (there were so many people watching Reptar that the venue declined to let even media pass holders in) of 40 Watt waiting to talk to people about the band I had just missed or I could fight my way inside and catch a glimpse of the first full-band set I have ever seen Washed Out preform. (If you remember, Ernest played a solo-set in Macon, Georgia for TheBlueIndian.com last April) I chose the latter and made my way inside, found my friends, and danced until I could hardly move anymore.
A few days later when I had returned to Macon, I began to download music from the artists that I had (or had not) seen at AthFest. Woodfangs, The Orkids, indie-darlings Hope For A Golden Summer, and FLT RSK were at the top of my list among others. Having been on an electro kick recently, (see Reptar, Stepdad, Sunglow) FLT RSK’s debut EP People and Places quickly made it’s way to the top of my iTunes.
The EP makes an interesting jumpstart with the track “Won”. A soulful and slightly static-laden sample of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World” into a flowing, yet urgent synth and drum sequence. One of the main selling points of this band is that they choose to use both live instrumentation and digital loops and sequences. “Won” then transitions into a down-tempo yet glitchy exploration of a vocal sample that repeats “Hello, How Are You” in a few different languages. The song continues to ride out in a array of appropriately sampled vocal edits and synth loops.
“Mishka” immediately jumps into a rolling drum loop overlapped by a dark and bass heavy synth edits. The song crescendos and decrescendos a few times before slowing building into a climax that features a synth solo that would make Chick Corea proud. The superb live drumming holds this song together, though it’s never near the point of being monotonous or boring.
The remaining 5 tracks of the album continue in this fashion. It is clear that these three guys have a clear influence from the current electronic music scene, but elements of reggae, dub-step, and even ambient jazz take the reigns on certain tracks. Don’t get me wrong though, this is definitely a record that you could put on a house party or between bands at a show to keep people energized and moving but I wouldn’t be surprised if some listeners play People and Places before going to bed or in the early hours of the morning.
The EP has elements that listeners of all background can appreciate but some tracks can become a bit drawn out or repetitive in places in my opinion.”…with eyes so true” is a prime example of this as it stretches past the eight minute mark (songs range from 4 1/2 minutes to 8). Still, this track has one of the most epic lead synth parts of the entire album. Somewhere around the six minute mark I was lost and found myself wishing the song could be more focused around the elemental dynamics it began with. “Fe’zed” features the lyrical talents of rapper (yes) Priceless The Kid, but the Lupe Fiasco/Jurassic5-esque flow is woven neatly over the ethereal instrumentation. It threw me off on my first listen, but I’ve gone back and found a liking to it.
This EP is a bold step in the right direction for this Athens three-piece. Drummer Matthew Wooley explained to me via email how the band came to be. “I came to Athens to studio culinary arts but after getting accepted to UGA decided to focus on mathematics and ultimately graduated with a degree in telecommunications from the Grady school of Journalism. JB moved to Athens to play music after attending FSU in Tallahassee and now lives in Atlanta. Matty G also lives in Atlanta too but we all realized the sound we wanted and just figured out how to make it work.”
The band is currently in the process of compiling a remix album of People and Places which should be released later this year and have plans to begin writing a follow up record in the next few months.
You can download People and Places for FREE (Name Your Price).
Photos: Heather Leake & Megan Tanner