Dive into the underbelly of sonic potency and begin a voyage through space, time, and enlightenment on the derelict cruise led by the surly captain, Damian Lazarus. The esteemed producer and DJ unveils his fourth album titled Flourish. It comes from Damian’s own label, Crosstown Rebels, and Diplo’s Higher Ground, serving as the first album of the label. Flourish sends listeners to the edges of wonder and self-reflection as each lick of sound unlocks another thought and theme to ponder. It’s Damian’s best work to date and comes at a time when we all need to examine the human element and its factor on the universal connection.
In today’s digital streaming system, we often lose the connective tissue and deeper meaning from music. That’s not to say that we can’t form true feeling or belief from music, but forming a relationship with something through the non-tangible realm is much more difficult with an abundance of options and playlist-stewards than when compared to the heydey of vinyl or CDs when you could — literally — feel the album and read the liner notes. That is why when you come across something that breaks through the glass shield encompassing your computer or phone screen and grabs you with full, emotional currents that the bond is instant and extraordinary. I can say that Damian Lazarus has achieved that feat and created a truly special album that examines more than just dancing groove-ability, but what it means to exist and traverse our individual lives in today’s climate.
At the core of Flourish, is the examination of spirituality, faith, and religion. The prodding of mercurial sound design — that at times feels monolithic and hedonistic and at other points contemporary and trailblazing — dives into the depths of these themes with ease where it lays at the feet of listeners a narrative inquisition of individual divinity, their relation to a higher power, and the collective consciousness. While on the surface, these ideas seem pessimistic and acquisitory, almost like asking all sinners to repent. In reality, they are shrouded in hope and optimism, unbounded by one singular controller. That hope comes from the belief that through these times of solitude and mental strife, our self-examination will reinvigorate the collective and bring about times of harmony.
On the album, Lazarus blends together swaths of rich, textured sound that, for those who have seen him perform can attest, is reminiscent to his live setting. His wealth of inspirations from jazz to drum n bass to soul to house to techno and everything in-between is felt throughout the 10-tracks and weaves together some of the most inventive and fresh dance music to come to our ears in the last decade or more. The quality is unrivaled and brings about a penetrative electricity-like feel that sends barbs of emotion to the soul of anyone who listens. The collection of songs culminates in one of the most complete works in the dance scene and is an intoxicating and breath-taking experience, one that is fulfilling and sensational. It could only come from the brilliance of Damian Lazarus.
As part of the album launch, the last single “Into The Sun”, which features Jem Cooke, receives the perfect complementary music video. The video sends listeners to the Italian countryside where Lazarus constructed the album and heightens the themes of spirituality and rebirth that are contained in Flourish. It stars the Italian model, Chiara Scelsi, who is perfect in her role as an alluring mystical figure at the center of the ritualistic, pagan-like ceremony. Shot by award-winning Italian filmmaker Fabrizio Narcisi, he brings to life “Into The Sun” in visual form with magnificence.
Damian Lazarus rolls back the stone from the tomb of understanding and unleashes a classic, thought-provoking album. In doing so, he brings about enlightenment and hopefulness to those that embark through the darkness and come out in the light, ready to flourish with their fellow human.