Flowmotion returns to promote progression in rock/funk

Flowmotion is back with a whole new groove, but their wailing guitar antics and crazy drumbeats haven’t disappeared. The Seattle-based band is known for their funk/jazz grooves music and use of African beats. They’ve toured Alaska since May 2001, and now they’ve returned with a progressive sound and a new album.

The album is a rereleased studio album that has been remixed and remastered; it’s undergone an entire change, including new artwork for the cover. They will also be releasing a live album from Summer Meltdown 2007, a Washington music festival the band is sponsoring for the seventh time.

Lead singer and guitarist Josh Clauson anticipates coming back to Alaska with the new album.

“The rereleased album is a studio version, so it’s really to-the-point. There’s no jams, no extended versions of tunes. It’s very much about the integrity of the song as it was written,” Clauson said.

“The live album is your chance to hear the music where there is improvisation, and extended portions of it. Some of the material really goes far out there.”

That’s exactly what audience members should expect from the band. In the past, they’ve focused on learning traditional West African music. Since then they’ve expanded their use of instruments for a more progressive sound. They’ve focused on Afro-beat, which is more bass, drums, guitar and horns. They’ve also incorporated a vibraphone, essentially a large xylophone with a sustained pedal.

“We’ve also been getting more, instead of jam-band, we’re getting more rock. We haven’t been focused on that, but it’s naturally been happening. The live album kind of shows that off a little bit,” Clauson said.

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As for the lyrics, it’s no surprise that Clauson finds most of his inspiration on the road. The band has been touring constantly. However, Clauson said he doesn’t consider himself much of a poet. He tends to write as he plays. The lyrics are mainly creative outlooks on life in general.

“The song will happen right in correlation in the music. Where I get that inspiration, I think of a lot of inspiration tunes, most has been written on the road,” Clauson said. “I have a lot of time to write on the road, traveling so much – seeing all these different places and people there, and how different things are affecting other places.”

Audience members won’t be disappointed with the music. Although Clauson’s lyrics are a nice change from the instrumentals, it is the instrumentals that make the band. Their funk/rock can only progress into something better.

Katie Gray from Orcas Island and guest guitarist R.L. Heyer will be accompanying the band during their Alaska tour. Flowmotion will be playing at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub on June 7 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15.