20 Watts

20 Watts Reviews Flying Lotus’s Cosmogramma by jluposello

20 Watts Reviews Flying Lotus's Cosmogramma

PREVIEW: VISIT Flying Lotus’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 16/20 Watts

Experimental electro-producer and musician Steve Ellison, aka Flying Lotus, has made quite a name for himself as an innovator of a genre often left untouched by modern electronic artists. With two stellar releases prior to this most recent effort, Ellison has lain the foundation for yet another groundbreaking release. This manifests in the form of the highly rewarding Cosmogramma.

Featuring guest appearances from the likes of Thom Yorke and Erykah Badu, Ellison’s star-studded record is overwhelming in a delightfully peculiar way. In the brief yet wildly dense tracks, Ellison warps sound waves into forms that will intrigue and please any fan of his own inimitable brand of electronica.

On Yorke’s track, “…And the World Laughs With You”, listeners encounter a coarsely distorted synth line accented by a swirling, industrial-sounding beat, an abrasive yet effective motif that is consistent throughout the record. Yorke’s distinctive vocals enhance the track’s emotional signature.. The way that the track manages to chart such a varying course of emotions and dynamic ranges parallels the album perfectly, giving first-time listeners a good idea of what FlyLo is all about.

On tracks such as “Do the Astral Plane”, FlyLo steers away from his penchant for the uber-distorted and instead creates something unexpected yet fittingly subtle that demonstrates his versatility as an artist. Its arrangements are bound to tickle the fancy of any Toro Y Moi fans, myself included.

An unfortunate side of FlyLo’s style is that it thrives on brevity. Most of the tracks run their course in well under 2 minutes. This may prove unappealing to fans who are keen on duration. Demanding listeners may misinterpret it as a lack of maturity in the tracks,  potentially painting the cuts as simple pieces of studio experimentation.

FlyLo brings an impressively mature sound to the table and continues to break ground in the genre of today’s electronica with Cosmogramma. The album’s potential to overwhelm in terms of both aesthetics and guest appearances make it a notable release, albeit a brief one.

-John Luposello

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