Review Summary: Dream sequences + idm beats
Disregarding Benn Jordan’s future ambient work ‘Soundtrack To A Vacant Life’, The Flashbulb was more consistently delving with idm beats and drum and bass. ‘Flexing Habitual’ although by no means will be his last attempt at idm. Jordan’s use of elevating progression through each song within 'Flexing Habitual' is calculating and precise, unlike his next album 'Soundtrack To A Vacant Life', 'Flexing Habitual' doesn't not build as the album progresses.
‘Flexing Habitual’ continues his traditional sense of making albums with the eclectic idm beats with drum and bass, but adds hints of clarity within their pauses or by adding ambient short soundscapes in the background. What keeps Jordan from stepping over the same boundaries he makes in ‘Flexing Habitual’ is the track time. Every track is under 5 minutes with only 2 actually reaching the 4 minute mark. This helps keep the music fresh and distinct through every song. Throughout the first few tracks it seems evident that Jordan is trying to build each individual track, instead of building the album from the ground up, he chooses to focuses on each track distinctively . This comes back to my previous point about the album. “Please Don’t Remember” adds an ambient style with piano scattered throughout while adding chunks of idm within its core. The next track “Chik Habit” sounds like an Eastern-European dance group song, but muddled and thrashed by his idm and drum n bass style everywhere. This type of variety within the album helps it immensely.
Jordan’s use of idm is the only constant throughout this entire album. What will make it gripping and exciting is his interchanging ideas and concepts. “Amen Iraq” uses a traditional Iraqi instrument while swarming it with drum breaks in its background, only seconds after is it hit head-on with quick idm beats, like I said fresh and distinct. It is difficult to notice how integral these sudden changes from track to track are so important, that is until you listen to the whole album a few times. Each track goes in a different direction from its predecessor. Right after “Amen Iraq”, “Six Acid Strings” includes Jordan’s ambient background seen in “Please Don’t Remember”, but at this point the album has shifted so many times its hard to notice where it actually ended and re-started from this point in the album. “Bash” is the more customary idm track with little variance unless you focus on the small differences within the background which don’t add much to it. “Bash” would be one of the few missteps within Jordan’s ‘Flexing Habitual’ because of the lack of diversity within the track. We’ve grown so accustomed to his divergent style within its backgrounds it becomes quite a bore (only the end of “Bash” will show its true potential).
Although ‘Flexing Habitual’ may not have been the precursor for ‘Soundtrack To A Vacant Life’, it is apparent Jordan’s use of diverse rhythm and style within this album was a factor in his future work as well as help his longevity. Despite ‘Flexing Habitual’ having a core of idm break beats (much like ‘Soundtrack To A Vacant Life’ and ambient) it doesn’t have any sense of indifference, instead it feels entirely new and revealing.