Monday, May 24, 2010

REVIEW: Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma [Warp Records]

Here is my review of Flying Lotus' new album Cosmogramma on Warp Records, written for Big Up Magazine's Issue 7.


Flying Lotus // Cosmogramma // Warp Records

Flying Lotus returns on the mighty Warp Records with his second full-length, Cosmogramma, undoubtedly his strongest and most original work yet. From the first second of the record, it immediately grabs you by the shoulders and like the force of gravity, you plummet into his world with an intense sixty seconds of electro-acoustic hybrid mash, quickly followed by a two minute jam-out of fractured drum & bass and fretted bass noodlings. The third track shoves you even further, pummeling your ears with an ascending fat bass pulse, chopped-up drums and spacious strings. Try to think of this as your (dis-)orientation, clearly intended to knock you off your conventional shoes and prepare you for what’s to come, as it should have.

At track four, you’re plunged into a beatless space, carried forth by celestial violins and cascading harps, cueing the album’s actual beginning. It kicks off into a series of bass-heavy hip-hop machinations, showing us the Flying Lotus that we’ve come to know so well. Its highlights are “Computer Face//Pure Being”, a phantasmagorical derivation of bitted Nintendo music, seamlessly traversing into the 4/4 roller, “And The World Laughs With You”, caressed by the soothing vocals of Thom Yorke, growing progressively glitched-out as it putters along. Other standout tracks are “Mmmhmm” featuring the tranquil lyricism of Thundercat, and “Satellliiiiteee”, a crunked-out opus with pitch-shifted Lil Wayne-style vocals.

What’s really impressive about this album is not only how Steven Ellison has further perfected his signature sound electronically with mysterious synthesis and sampling, but has also enhanced it with organic flavors such as fusions of jazz saxophone and guitar, as well as original vocalists. The result clouds the contour between electronic and traditional acoustic music, begging you simply to simply let your brain absorb it, without a thought of “what” or “how”. This is a true sign of an accomplished musician. It doesn’t seek to elude classification, but effortlessly does so of itself. A great example of this is “Do The Astral Plane”, a somewhat house-like track beginning with straight up scat-talk, a spirited square-wave bassline, and a vivid string arrangement.

Flying Lotus’ tracks are enriched by sounds that can’t even be described; soft layers that don’t grab your attention, but you hear only when you’re blasting it loud and listening closely, almost playing tricks on your mind. The energy flow of this record is rather irregular too, beginning at full throttle, and progressing downwards, as if you’ve taken a toke of some amazing substance and are listening to the soundtrack of it being gradually processed by your receptors until you return to waking reality. The only problem is the album feels too short; each track leaving you wishing it had lasted a little longer. Still, that’s the beauty of being able to experience it all over again, and perhaps encounter something that you hadn’t before.

-Alex Incyde


Buy it HERE.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quote from Stephen Hitchell (of Echospace)

Taken from this interview...
"We don’t think very much. That’s the beauty of music, or the beauty of art, once you walk into the studio you turn off all the thought process. I think that if you have preconceived ideas or preconceived notions it changes the direction of what’s naturally meant to take place, I think that’s the beauty of art in itself."

Quote from Mala

From this interview in FACT Magazine...
"For me, releasing music isn’t the most important thing; it’s the process, it’s about being there in the studio building tunes, it’s not the end product but how you get there, and even if you don’t get there it doesn’t really matter because… well it’s just about doing, isn’t it? For me it’s just about doing."

Music Curation vs Music Criticism

From this article in Wired magazine...
2) Music curation vs. music criticism
In the old days all music fans actually had to pay for albums, which meant they had to be careful with their choices. They turned to people called “music critics,” which publications hired to help guide purchasing decisions, because there was no way to find out how something sounded on your own unless you stumbled across it on the radio or stood in line at record stores that allowed free previews on headphones.
Today, you can discover in seconds how nearly any band in the world sounds, assuming it wants to be heard, on YouTube, MySpace, Spotify, The Pirate Bay and other services. At that point, the role of the music critic shrinks considerably and becomes more about curation than criticism.
The fact that your favorite MP3 blog mentions something at all is more important than what they say about it, because you can then download or stream the song and decide for yourself.