I love happening upon albums that take me by surprise. That was the case with my review for Matelo Mantra yesterday, and it is also the case for this beauty from Flight Mechanic. The album is called Other Worlds and Golden Ages and released on June 21st.
Flight Mechanic hails from the United Kingdom. The name behind the project is Rodger Graham. As far as I can tell, he was in the military at some point, but I’m not sure. Whatever the case might be, this album takes various flight experiences and translates them into music. I don’t know why I find that so fascinating.
This album basically offers a smooth Floydian progressive rock. But it’s more than that. Much of it is far more ambient, more akin to early Floyd or even their swansong, The Endless River. It is also instrumental, so whatever emotions, experiences, or textures come through must arrive wordlessly. Flight Mechanic gives us some great and abstract guitars, but also electronic accents, quirky keys, and an airy aura that is instantly attractive.
There are various things that make this album what it is. One of those things is the drumming. While it certainly isn’t overtly technical, the drumming on this record is lush and mixed very well. Many of the songs that feel “out there” are grounded by a rock solid beat that helps our minds process everything.
I would also point out the artist’s penchant for interesting rhythms and synth tones. Many of the songs have addictive, head-bobbing grooves and rhythms that leave you wanting more. Add to that some electronic accents or flashes of sweet synth, and the music comes alive with layers and personality. Using these tools, the music really does feel like we are exploring something new.
I love all ten tracks. The opening song is the title track, and it transfixed me immediately. It feels a smidge New Age and ambient at first, relying on well-composed guitars and a haunting voiceover to kickstart the experience. The voiceover, for whatever reason, reminds me of the Talosians from the original Star Trek pilot—you know, the ones that were telepathic and could create illusions with their minds. This adds a layer of nerdom to the track that I personally relish.
Some of my favorites are “Yukon Skies”, “Wolf Spirit”, “Pulling 9G”, and “Psychonautica”. “Yukon Skies” feels vast and bright, just like the subject material. “Wolf Spirit” feels more reserved and inner-focused, though, almost to the point of being haunting. “Pulling 9G, on the other hand, is a stylish and tense track where you can feel every bit of anxiety, thrill, and anticipation. “Pyschonautica”, though, is electronic, vibrant, and even psychedelic. The variety on this album is notable.
I love the way the album ends. “Cerulean” is a serene track, one that leans into subtlety and gracious melody. It has such a hovering elegance to it, one that calms and soothes me. Much of the album possesses this feeling, but I think it really comes to a head with this final song.
Flight Mechanic is somewhat mysterious, doesn’t want his face shown, and is only on Instagram and Twitter. But that isn’t an indication of the quality of his work. This album is tranquil, beautiful, and laid back, and it is exactly the type of music I need sometimes. I’ve been listening to it almost daily since I discovered it, and my appreciation has only grown.
Find Flight Mechanic online: