Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma
Release Date: May 4, 2010
It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s Flying Lotus!
“A flying what?” you ask—and with good reason. While the vast majority of people wouldn’t recognize Flying Lotus (aka Steven Ellison aka FlyLo, for short) if they hit him with their car, he’s a name worth getting familiar with.
What’s equally difficult to identify, is what genre FlyLo’s latest album, Cosmogramma, should fall into. Is it jazz, hip-hop, electronic, avant-garde experimentalism, a fusion of all of these, or something else entirely?
I’ve heard it referred to as “blip-hop” and that might be the closest suitable designation I can give. The only easily identifiable aspect of this music is that it is strangely unique and different from most everything else on the music landscape these days.
Perhaps what best encapsulates the essence of this album is its otherworldliness. From start to finish, FlyLo takes the listener on a journey through the cosmos—a place that at first seems chaotic, overwhelming, and full of disarray but quickly becomes organized, harmonious, and understandable. If the Na’vi of Pandora had iPods, this is what they’d be listening to.
A song like “Recoiled” sounds like the mating calls of a female alien species over the tribal pitter-patter of drums and quivering leaves. It’s a highly sensualized sound that is followed perfectly by the mischievous “Dance of the Pseudo Nymph,” which bounces along at a frenetic pace and conjures wild images of hordes of male suitors fervently dancing in vain to appeal to the teasing nymph and demonstrate their reproductive fitness.
On the track, “…And The World Laughs With You,” Thom Yorke (yes, he of Radiohead fame) distantly croons, “I need to know you’re out there/ Need to know you’re listening,” to which we hear the gurgled and indecipherable transmissions of an alien race responding.
Throughout the album, FlyLo has crafted a lush soundscape filled with horns, strings, drums, and electronic blips and hiccups. Even more impressive, he’s created a universe that removes the listener from the monotony of the world they know and thrusts them into a galaxy filled with alien beings and celestial bodies where everything is fresh and exhilarating.
If you’ve ever looked up into the vastness of space and wondered, ‘Is there anyone else out there?’ then FlyLo is here to silence your questioning and provide a definitive, ‘yes.’
The spaceship is boarding. I suggest you come along for the trip.
8.5 / 10