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The first thing that struck me when listening to Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma, was nothing. It did nothing for me. It was definitely different but with repeat listens, it defines the deformed and abstract sounds of FlyLo’s debut, Los Angeles. At only a little over 40 minutes, it’s quite feat to say that after the 30th listen (which has well flown past me), you’d still be uncovering more secrets this gem holds.
There aren’t particularly any stand outs as this album is an album that should be heard from start to finish every time you feel like listening to it. But if I had to give one specific track a mention, it’d be Recoiled. It handles the jazz that we’ve learnt before it imperfectly around fresh hip-hop beats without the videogame noises I care oh so little for. The cut and paste and schizophrenic producing is a tough cookie to crumble. And as it’s apparent on ‘Cosmo’, FlyLo crushed that cookie with mechanical arms. He’s approached and embraced it from all angles of his spectrum. The electronic sounds are admittedly nothing new or special, but when infused and tangled with jazz, the music enforces you, the listener to approach the music at another angle too.
There are parts I love and parts I hate, even in the same songs. You can’t say that about many albums. It even goes as far as making me both love and hate it at the same time, for instance, in Satellite the atrocious vocal part is overdubbed with a beautiful jazz melody. This vocal part unfortunately grates on me so much that I’m almost forced to skip the track but for the amount it’s on for it would be pointless to ruin the pattern of listening from start to finish. The jazz parts a by far the best. The experimentation of free jazz in general can either hit the spot or be miles out, there’s no in between. The free jazz in ‘Cosmo’ conform to the former. It’s fast and hastily abrupt, which isn‘t a bad thing. The fusion of the transference of genres combined create a kaleidoscopic type collage that that unfolds with each listen. But if you don’t like jazz, you should still listen to it, there’s something in here for everyone. Even if you’re a casual electronic listener.
Apart from Satellite though, The other vocalised tracks (featuring Thom Yorke, Thundercat, Laura Darlington) are all inhuman and very out of body experience like. The vocals on the songs aren’t the main focus of the songs and the beats aren’t there to guide the vocals along, they both go hand in hand. The vocal songs are usually the softer type songs as opposed to the energetic instrumentals. And I’m sure they’d sound amazing when you’re high as well.
The only critique I have that isn’t listing bad sounds is that the handful of genres in the album could have been welded together better. It just isn’t that subtle. I think by his third full length he will have fully fleshed out his producing and will be a monster, which is saying something as this is sitting up there with the monsters of 2010. Ultimately, every sound heard on the album falls in to two categories, Good and Bad. I’d like to just list every single sound for each track and put them under their deserved title, but what good would that be? Cosmogramma definitely wins the award for the most interesting album of 2010, as the most awful sounds still keep your brain sizzling. Cosmogramma is a vacuum of sounds, he sucks up all the mess, but then drops out a bomb of all that mess, but the bomb is filled with confetti.