Flung is one half of the experimental jazz duo Honet Oats. The Janak JP half, to be precise. When COVID hit this past spring, the Oakland-based multi-instrumentalist applied their talents to a carefully considered end.
During a period of three weeks, they explored the possibilities of sampling software, wandering through a realm of pure expression and sound, dropping wedges of cheese and string into every mousehole in their subconscious, waiting for a tug, and then reeling in and finding a home for whatever happened to be at the end of their line.
The end result is Shaky But My Hair Is Grown, 16 tracks of experimental sound collage and pop that captures the boundless energy of some strange and beautiful creative processes. The album sounds as though JP took an Avalanches LP and a Ginger Root LP, smashed them on the linoleum of a kitchen floor, and then meticulously glued them back together into a singular oversized disc, shrunk it back down to size in the microwave, and played it on a portable turntable whose internal mechanisms are hand-operated by a team of miniature, Noah Benjamin Lennox-shaped automatons.
It’s smoother sounding than its inspirations would allude to (supposedly Zimbabwean, Brazilian MPB, psychedelic-soul man Nick Nakim, and black liberation poets in the vein of Fred Moten and Nathaniel Mackey), but just as likely to cause your brain to collapse in on itself like an auto-cannibalizing donut.
“Lavender” has a big, splashy beat and bass line to complement its nasal register shaking melody, with the beat continuing to be a throughline as it transitions into a cloud of new-age soul. “Freshly Zested” hitches a ride on a retro-psych spiral that feels borrowed from a Stereolab track, and that platforms the understated, drawl of the vocal melody through to the point where it reboots into a skeletal house track.
“Time to Get Guttural” has a carnivalesque Blue Wrath quality that could soundtrack some used-future, ’70s-era, sci-fi drama about delinquent youth. “(I’m a) Music Girl” is a puffy disco danish, filled with glazed break-beats and creamy spiritualized harmonization and sprinkled with a liberal handful of piano-riff shook jimmies.
“Organ” sounds like it could have been a Thundercat b-side with its wiggly funky bluster and high-pitched vocals, a vibe that continues into the echo-chamber prance of “Tingletoes.”
We’re going to be seeing more solo experimental sound projects dropping in the next couple of months as the pandemic continues unabated, and they’ll all have their work cut out for them if they want to grab your attention in the wake of Shaky, But My Hair Is Grown.
Stream all of Flung’s Shaky, But My Hair Is Grown via Bandcamp below: