Album Review: Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus


Flying Lotus – less commonly known as Steven Ellison – began his music career about ten years ago, marking a ‘Decade of Flying Lotus‘ late last year, slowly conquering the West-Coast electronic music scene for potheads and trippers from all around the world. He is an avid marijuana user, centering his sounds around the psychedelic experience, though it should be noted that his beats can make even the most sober listener feel refreshingly high. His latest release, Cosmogramma, features Thom Yorke in an amazing collaboration called “… And the World Laughs With You”, proving he is not losing his creative touch, and critics and fans tend to agree: this is his best work yet.

Like most of his music, Cosmogramma blends elements of Jazz, Blues, Indie-Rock, Drum-n-Bass, Dubstep, Trip-Hop, and House. His style defies genre classification, pioneering new terrain “like Hendrix” did with rock, says BBC Radio 1 DJ Mary Anne Hobbes. Every song is utterly unique, providing a relentless bang-for-the-buck for those that choose to shell out cash for the new collection.

The first track on the album, “Clock Catcher”, is perhaps the least fitting of the bunch, though it sounds great in a live setting. Nonetheless, it stands out from the rest of the album – and all the rest of Ellison’s work – because of its extra-intense energy and relentless beat. It’s possible that Flying Lotus may have been trying too hard with this song, awkwardly melding fast noise with angelic space harmonies. It is not a song that will get heads nodding, but, in the end, it comes off as a successful psychedelic launch into Ellison’s epic space opera known as Cosmogramma.

As the album progresses into the next few tracks, the familiar Flying Lotus sound returns in a more developed and mature manner than his previous releases. Though Cosmogramma was mastered by the incredibly skillful Daddy Kev, it is apparent that Ellison’s skills have matured beyond the most famed producers gracing the world’s ears today, and, as usual, a lot of his inspiration is rooted in the “natural” music made by the various medical machines and equipment that surrounded his mother in her last weeks on Earth as she helplessly passed away in front Ellison. His music replicates the mechanical sounds and patterns that washed over him during that time-period, so expect to hear a lot of creative percussion in the form of respirator pumps, heart-monitor beeps, mechanical clicks, etc. throughout every track.

Like most of his California-based fans, I was first exposed to this album in December of 2009 and January of 2010 during a couple of live shows celebrating his tenth year of music production, though it was merely a taste of the new stuff. He finally unveiled a large chunk of Cosmogramma during his Coahcella 2010 set, and the crowd seemed to crave the new stuff as much as the classic tracks. Though his live show continues the psychedelic atmosphere featured on his albums and singles, it is a significantly different experience that focuses on dancing and energetic partying. His albums, including Cosmogramma, on the other hand, come off as thought-provoking, relaxing, and hypnotizing, covertly killing time as the mind control frequencies take over your brain second-by-second.

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  1. […] the original post: Album Review: Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus « The Cannabis Post Posted in Music Gear Review Tags: earth, her-last, his-inspiration, his-mother, inspiration, […]

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