Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma - Album Review

'Calling Flylo, calling Flylo. Where are you Flylo? The city bank is being robbed, and we need your expertise at everything to do with everything."

"Sorry, can't. Lightin' a joint and pennin' one of the albums of the year.'

(Conversation between Steven Ellison AKA Flying Lotus and a police officer, 2009).

OK, so maybe that conversation with a police officer wasn't strictly true, but the fact that he has penned one of the albums of the year remains true. 'Cosmogramma' is like a tapestry made of mpc buttons, squelchy synths and jazzy drums and, frankly, it is incredible. Flylo takes the pioneering elements from his uncle John Coltrane's (crazy right?) brand of proto-jazz. And the result? Phenomenality (if that is a word). The seemingly standout track '...And The World Laughs With You', (featuring Thom Yorke) is musical magnificence. It also demonstrates Ellison's ability to treat everything on the same level. Thom Yorke's lyrics are not more or less important than the skittery rhythms. One never gets in the way of the other, and as a result of this: the track fits together like a jigsaw. Other highlights include; 'Galaxy in Janaki', which utilises jazz piano, Roots-esque clap beats, soaring strings and bleepy synths to make one of the most euphoric tracks of the year. Again, each instrument is on the same level, and again it works well because of this. Some may say that an instrument needs to take centre stage at some point, but in this case no: it is better enjoyed as a whole. Finally,it is in my favourite song on the album 'Zodiac Shit' that we really begin to experience Ellison's dubstep credentials, and he really flaunts his knowledge of the utilisation empty space. 'Zodiac Shit' is like a clock: each entrancing violin, each malfunctioning robot effect, each walking bassline is a cog that enables the song as a whole to work perfectly.

A a puzzle and a clock inside a tapestry. If you can get your head around that, then you have unlocked the genius mind of Flylo.

'Caling Flylo, calling Flylo. We played the criminals Cosmogramma: issue resolved.'

9/10

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