I really enjoy listening to different and truly unique music. I would say that most of the music I listen to is hit-or miss because it is simply weird. I listen to a lot of genres of music, but Bela Fleck and the Flecktones is the only bluegrass group I have ever liked to listen to. Now, I dislike almost all bluegrass music, so if you don't like the genre don't immediately close your mind. Judging by the cover art and band name, you know you're in for a trip before you open the cd case. The first time I listened to this I was surprised and amazed by how good it was.
Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo is a strickly instrumental album. While some people may think that instrumental songs are boring, Bela Fleck keeps things very interesting. This albums main influence is bluegrass, but Bela Fleck adds in heavy influences of jazz, space-rock, and funk. You will never hear an album like this, Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo is a very unique and fun journey. Combing these genres Bela Fleck creates a jazz fusion album. Nearly every song on here is smooth, quirky, and fun. The jazz influences keep everything soothing, these songs run together almost perfectly and the jazzy and funky melodies are simply brilliant. This music isn't straight up bluegrass, it is much more fun, and funky. While Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo won't get you on the dance floor, it will get you grooving and swaying. Jazzy bluegrass, Bela Fleck has created a new genre of music, and it is amazing.
The instruments on this album are not your typical rock instruments. The main instrument is a banjo played by Bela Fleck and he is almost flawless. The banjo is soothing, funky, quirky, and spidery. Bela Fleck almost uses a banjo like a guitar player would use a guitar, he rapidly jumps from low notes to higher notes creating an 80's groove with heavy hints of bluegrass. It dominates most of these tracks and while it may sound sort of odd it is actually very melodic and fun. The harmonica is the next big key. You hear a lot of solos with the harmonica and the banjo adding in some folk/country influences. These instruments are not played slowly, they are playful, upbeat, and most importantly catchy. The bass isn't featured very often, but when it is it is simply amazing. Turtle Rock
has one of my favorite basslines of all time, it is extra jazzy and funky. I realize you might think I'm crazy saying that an amazing bassline is coming from a blue-grass album, but it is true. Those are the three main instruments used on Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo, they are played brilliantly and although this album is all instrumental work it is simply amazing.
Overall this is simply an amazing instrumental album. The musicianship is excellent and you can tell the band is having a great time just because how upbeat the music is. Even if you dislike bluegrass, try this album out. Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo is fun, upbeat and most of all unique. Bela Fleck is an extremely talented banjo player, he plays it like a rock play plays the guitar. When you first listen to it the music just latches on to you right away. Everything is so smooth and jazzy feeling, it just makes you feel cool. This is an upbeat album, don't file the genre bluegrass under country because this album is nothing like a country album. Although the bass doesn't show up in this album on every song, when it does make an appearence it is amazing. Bela Fleck has done something I think no one else has. He has fused together bluegrass, jazzy, funk and rock together to create something truly unique and interesting. If you are looking for something fun, quirky, and unique than Flight Of The Cosmic Hippo is definately for you.
Overall Rating : 4.5/5
Pros: Jazzy and Smooth - Banjo and bass - Catchy melodies - Unique and fun to listen to
Cons - Without vocals and lyrics I don't think this album is a classic.
Recommended Tracks : Blu-Bop - Turtle Rock - Hole In The Wall