Album Review: Flying Lotus – Cosmogramma

May 4, 2010

Concept: Oh, what a delightfully obscure reference! Now, Thom Yorke’s coming over, so this is the best thing since Hearing Damage from the Twilight soundtrack or else nothing is sacred anymore, okay?

Sound : It must be emphasized that without good speakers or headphones this album is not half of what it can be. It is literally not a very accessible album. There are certain requirements for physically experiencing the finer touches and picking out the extra sounds that bump this up from just another hip-hop mash. Cosmogramma isn’t just a glut of classy and diverse samples. It’s been recorded and produced to feel like the real thing, if not better, since it gives a sort of parallax experience of all its contents, like you’re onstage walking back and forth among the players. If Flying Lotus had decided to drop a pin, you’d hear it under the bubbling jazz bass, videogame trills, and shuffling percussion. The influences certainly don’t end there. I’m not sure where they end. In this respect, the album’s the real deal, the next big thing for hip-hop. If you’re using your iPod earbuds for this though, as I first did when the album came out, you are likely to be very underwhelmed by many tracks, although some still refuse to have their excellence ignored.

Lyrics: Scatting, crazed laughter, oohs and ahs, whoever Laura Darlington is she rocks you, Thom Yorke needs a hug.

Quick And Dirty: One of the very best hip-hop instrumental/sample albums, right up there with DJ Shadow and The Avalanches. I do feel a good sound system is so integral to the album that I’m putting down two ratings for the two ways to hear it. One way or the other, you know what to do. (♦♦♦♦♦ or ♦♦♦)

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