November 12th, 2010 | Album reviews

alessa kreger

Flying Lotus “Do The Astral Plane”
(From Cosmogramma out now on Warp)

Cosmogramma is a song cycle in the tradition of classical music: songs flow into each other, thematic ideas are woven throughout each song only to reappear once again, giving the listener the sense that a meta-narrative is being articulated in the arc of this largely instrumental work. Like Lotus’ previous Los Angeles, Cosmogramma borrows from a variety of influences: jazz, indie-rock, hip-hop, downtempo and electronica. This record’s arrangements, however, are far more sophisticated, occupying every available octave of the aural space and seeming at times to slide a percussive element into every potential slot. Sounds like the smooth glissando of a harp, a metallic cough, the hollow echo of a bouncing ping pong ball. Complex melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements fit together as easily and smoothly as the layers of a wedding cake. Final song, “Galaxy Into Janaki,” conveys ambition and commitment found rarely anywhere in music. One can only dream of what he can accomplish if he keeps progressing at this rate.

—Kristina Benson