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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma: A-

I’d hate to go all Jimmy McMillin on you guys, but, if you have chosen to get Flying Lotus’s new album (Good choice by the way!), then, before you pop it into your stereo or what have you, listen to it in iTunes, but make sure to press Ctrl + T before hitting that play button. This will open up the audio-manipulated screensaver. As of writing this review, this screensaver program consists largely of a black visual canvas that has orbs with vibrating receptors on them contorting into and away from each other. Turn off all the lights close to where you are, and just concentrate on that screen for Cosmogramma’s forty-minute or so life span… isn’t it cool?

Cosmogramma is the kind of restless album that breezes through a multitude of emotions without so much as looking back for a second. There are moments of depression (“... And the World Laughs with You”), beauty (“Auntie’s Harp”), chaos (“Computer Face/Pure Being”) and, most prevalently, cool (“Do the Astral Plane”, “German Haircut”, “Saaaatteliite”), unfolding into somewhat of a space odyssey in front of you on that black screen. I read a review of Cosmogramma in which it was portrayed as the chronicling of the man, himself, Steven Ellison, when he gets sucked into a video game and has to battle his way out, which I find an intriguing angle, but one that misrepresents Cosmogramma as a concept album, a label that is often associated with great density. In fact, Cosmogramma is quite light on its feet, despite the clearly elaborate compositions that have evolved in the two years since Flying Lotus has released an album.

Cosmogramma’s tracks are mainly filed under “electronic music”, but songs like “Auntie’s Harp” and “German Haircut” take cues from Ellison’s lineage in jazz (His aunt was Alice Coltrane) and are legitimate jazz tracks, and excellent ones at that. Cosmogramma does a worthy job of consolidating Flying Lotus’s hold on what is relevant and what can be transcendent in electronic music. Also, it will suspend your fear of the dark for almost an hour, so that’s pretty cool too.


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