Flying Lotus
Cosmogramma


4.5
superb

Review

by gasmaskman USER (6 Reviews)
April 26th, 2010 | 37 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I need to know you're out there, I need to know you're listening

Steven Ellison, better known as Flying Lotus, has had a huge impact on the instrumental hip-hop. His willingness to go out on a limb and push boundaries has resulted in him paving the way to success for similar acts, especially artists like Daedalus, Gaslamp Killer, and Samiyam who are on the Brainfeeder label. His constant progression and evolution continues with "Cosmogramma" and with it FlyLo brings forth another new style, yet one that's still rooted in the scene he's helped ignite. The album shows that not only does he draw heavily from the past - mostly from the large jazz inspiration his great aunt Alice Cotrane has had on him - but that he's also constantly evolving his unique and influential style.

Jazz has always played a part in Ellison's music, but "Cosmogramma" really brings forth a sound that draws heavily from free jazz. "Pickled!" has a frantic bassline that arpeggiates its way up and down a shuffling beat that we've come to expect from FlyLo. "German Haircut" is almost pure jazz, from the smooth saxophone work to the uneven drums, though it doesn't mesh well with the swirling, beautiful atmosphere Ellison tries to create on the song. It's a slight misstep on an album that otherwise provides a solid listening experience. And it's just that, an experience. The album flows briskly through the tracks, and it goes through it all in what seems to be much shorter than its almost 50-minute running time would suggest.

Despite a fond love for jazz, the album weaves in and out of numerous styles that have all been largely influential on FlyLo, and "Cosmogramma" has an incredible range of sounds because of it. "Recoiled" gives us a dirty bassline, yet the harps and subtle vocal sampling give it a very warm feeling. The feeling of warmth also comes from the fact that FlyLo recruited several prominent jazz musicians, ranging from bassist Thundercat to saxophonist (and Ellison's counsin) Ravi Coltrane, to write and record the instruments that make up the bulk of the album. "...And The World Laughs With You," with Thom Yorke (whose appearance makes this one of the many highlights of the album), gives us a prominent IDM sound, though one that's always subtely found its way into FlyLo's sound. No matter what style is present on the album, it fits in the context. While there is an incredible amount of variety to the sounds, there's nothing that feels out of place or unnatural, even with "Table Tennis" sampling of (what else?) ping-pong balls. All of this goes without mentioning what is easily the highlight of the album, and what might be the highlight of FlyLo's entire career - "Do The Astral Plane." It's 4 minutes of pure bliss. The strings are beautiful and the buzzing synthline that drops in and out is infectious. Beginning with scatting and melding into a disco beat, it's a constantly evolving track that builds up into what could be considered the climax of the entire album.

While jazz might play a huge role in "Cosmogramma," there's one major influence in FlyLo's tunes that has always been present: Los Angeles. Ellison makes it no secret that his upbringing in Los Angeles is something that's found its way into his music (if not from the fact that his second album is titled "Los Angeles"). The people of Los Angeles are constantly changing and moving on from trend to trend, and that idea Ellison has adapted to his craft. He is constantly reinventing his music, in the same way the city he's lived in most of his life has been constantly changing.

"Cosmogramma" is a very ambitious album. At times it's self-indulgent, and it sets the bar quite high. While it misses at points, these moments are few and far between. One problem with the record is that at times it can be quite unaccessable. With the wide range of sounds and effects, it's incredibly hard to take in with anything less than a few listens. There's an incredible amount of depth to be heard, though, and it's not surprising considering Ellison has said the album is a "headphone" kind of record. While it may be one of the most ambitious albums of the year, it succeeds in almost every way. If anything, Steven Ellison has mastered the craft of creating an album that's going to be continually influencing new artists, even while drawing upon many influences myself. This makes it easily one of the best albums of the decade thus far, and that's really saying something.



Recent reviews by this author
Genghis Tron Board Up the House2Cents Lost At Sea
Baroness Red AlbumBetween the Buried and Me Between the Buried and Me
Through the Eyes of the Dead Malice
user ratings (1019)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
Andy Antar (5)
Ellison's stranglehold on mood is vice-like and quickly tightening. Flying Lotus is the face of a ne...

Michael Jordan (GoAT) (4)
Flying Lotus places heavily electronic, sample-based music back on its true path – that of the exp...

Jared W. Dillon (5)
Flying Lotus strives for perfection and achieves it with "Cosmogramma"....


Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
April 26th 2010


20374 Comments


can I get a stream??

Digging: Holy Sons - Lost Decade II

gasmaskman
April 26th 2010


1006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

http://www.myspace.com/flyinglotus

it's been almost 2 years since i've written a review... figured i'd bust one out for what's my favorite album of the year (in a year full of AMAZING albums) so far

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 26th 2010


31218 Comments


Was slightly disappointed with this album, only slightly though

Digging: LV and Joshua Idehen - Islands

HeavyB
April 26th 2010


177 Comments


Is that partially because the bar was set so high with Los Angeles Deviant? I'm holding off listening to this till I have an actual physical copy to play on a legit soundsystem. Old fashioned I guess.

Prophet178
April 26th 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Deviant be crazy, this rules.

HeavyB
April 26th 2010


177 Comments


That's what I was hoping Prophet. Boxie Brown you one bad mutha.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 26th 2010


31218 Comments


I'm a .5 of you Proph

Ghostechoes
April 26th 2010


1353 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have been listening to instrumental hip-hop lately, Madlib/Yesterdays New Quintet, Blockhead, Blue Sky Black Death, Metaform, etc. So I am definitely going to check this. Moreover, I really enjoyed Los Angeles.

HeavyB
April 26th 2010


177 Comments


Fly Lo should do a track with Elizabeth Fraser from the Cocteau Twins at some point. Shit could be large.

joshuatree
Emeritus
April 26th 2010


3742 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i've listened to this a lot since it leaked and i still don't know what this is

MaskAtTheMasquerade
April 26th 2010


2887 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

SO good. i love the jazzy feel he added to this one

gasmaskman
April 26th 2010


1006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i'm really not a fan of jazz tbh but the way he's incorporated it is top notch

Prophet178
April 27th 2010


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If it weren't for Mmmhmm this would be a 4.5, that track is awwwwwwful.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
April 27th 2010


31218 Comments


Agreed, Do The Astral Plane is still the best song he's ever done

Dubbadubbadubbadubbadubbadubbadubbadubba

qwe3
April 27th 2010


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oooh flying lotus

gasmaskman
April 27th 2010


1006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i actually like Mmhmm, if anything I think German Haircut is the worst track on here

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
April 27th 2010


23844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet, I liked Los Angeles a lot (to my mild surprise). This looks promising.


lobby
April 27th 2010


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

for me it's arkestry that brings it down

gasmaskman
April 27th 2010


1006 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

arkestry and german haircut are for sure the two worst songs on here imo

joshuatree
Emeritus
April 29th 2010


3742 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ugh finally listening to a high-quality version of this now, it's soooosososo much better



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy