ALBUM REVIEW: The “Power is in the Subtleties” On Flintwick Debut EP ALBUM REVIEW: The “Power is in the Subtleties” On Flintwick Debut EP
Central Arkansas producer and DJ Brady Cagle, who goes by the pseudonym Flintwick, dropped his debut EP “Whiskers,” this past Friday. Though it’s hard... ALBUM REVIEW: The “Power is in the Subtleties” On Flintwick Debut EP

Central Arkansas producer and DJ Brady Cagle, who goes by the pseudonym Flintwick, dropped his debut EP “Whiskers,” this past Friday. Though it’s hard to define Flintwick’s unique style, you may fancy this EP if you’re a fan of producers like Thriftworks, Tipper, and Bassnectar. Don’t expect explosive bass drops or heavy trap beats; the power of Flintwick’s production is in the subtleties.

Cagle is a 21-year-old multi-instrumentalist with seven years of experience producing music, but only a year behind him as Flintwick. I’ve only had the pleasure of seeing Flintwick perform once and that’s a regrettable fact. My jaw was on the floor during his set at a Last Sunday show at George’s in Fayetteville this past summer. His music is danceable, yet cerebral and dissociative.  While listening, I can’t control my desire to move, nor my need to ponder my existence in the space-time continuum. I’m no prophet, but during that performance, I couldn’t help to think how thankful I was to see him in such an intimate crowd before he makes it big. “Whiskers” reinforces those same feelings of awe.

His transitions from one beat to the next are smooth and cohesive as if it were a free-form jazz composition.  He blends a myriad of samples and sounds into his synthesizer heavy beats, and in addition to multiple synthesizers, Flintwick uses mandolin, sitar, dobro, bass, dulcimer, and violin on the record.

The opening track, “Whiskers,” is the most upbeat track on the album, and gives us the first taste of the many complex musical fusions he utilizes.  He juxtaposes the organic sounds of an organ-like synthesizer with an assortment of bleeping-and-crunching space noises.  At moments, I feel like I’m the last lap of a Mario Kart race.

In contrast with the upbeat nature of “Whiskers,” “Kitty Biscuits” opens with a dark and bouncing build-up, leading into a minimal, yet crunchy, trap beat.  The minor-chord-heavy ambient background is complemented with even more Mario-like samples and space noises.  The sounds of the creepy minor chords remind me of that same ambient minor chord aspect of Shpongle’s music.  Sticking with the minor chord vibe, “Suede Tolex,” is a dream-like composition with elements of Eastern music, paired with a jazzy trumpet.

“Quirky” is an ominous circus march.  The circus-like sound of “Quirky” reminds me of the “Pink Elephant on Parade” track that Bassnectar mixed circa 2011.  The image of the pink elephants march through my head throughout “Quirky.”  Build-ups lead into more build-ups throughout this track to finish abruptly before “Dr. Bivens.”

“Dr. Bivens” is the funkiest track on the EP starting with the sounds of an organ synth spiraling into a funky drum machine trap beat.  Reminiscent of Govinda, the ambient sounds of a violin finish out the track as well as the album as “Dr. Bivens” comes to a close.

If you can’t tell, I’m a fan. This album has been on heavy rotation since it’s debut Friday, and I’m thrilled to add much more to my Flintwick show count, starting with his next show where he’ll support Psymbionic and The Widdler at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville on Feb. 1.

Follow Flintwick on Facebook and listen to “Whiskers,” which is out now on Soundcloud, Spotify, iTunes, and YouTube.

 

Katherine Purcell

Elementary art teacher in Fort Smith, AR who spends most of her free time catching shows.