Whether or not the accolades were deserved or not, the self-fulfilling nature of the Internet hype machine assured that Flying Lotus would be crowned the new king of dubstep, or wonky, or beat music, or whatever inane label journalists ascribed to him this month. I suspect one of the more underlying points of Cosmogramma was to avoid being tarred by broad-brush generalizations, which is partially the reason why it occasionally feels clunky and overly regimented — what Mike Powell described as, “here’s my jazz and here’s my hip-hop, here’s my noise and here’s my groove.” My thoughts on Lotus’ third album fall somewhere between Powell’s take and everyone else’s unqualified rapture. It is a very good album from an already great artist with a sound that refuses stasis. Consequently, it seems like a transition record, one where he tries on a series of outfits, looking modish in each, but changing too frequently before the fabric really flows.
Ill-fitting analogy aside, harping on Cosmograma feels like caviling — which makes for better criticism, but not necessarily better listening. It’s a frequently brilliant and always inspired record from a man whose chief flaw seems to be his over-generosity. Ratcheting down his ambitions may have made for a more seamless product, but wouldn’t have augured well for his future — which remains brighter than anyone in the laptop n’ mutant bass brigade. This is why I felt mixed about last Saturday’s debut of his new live band, Infinity, an outfit still unsure how to reconcile its celestial intentions with the limitations of gravity. I enjoy a good jam as much as the next herbally prescribed patient and found his orchestral aspirations often enjoyable and always admirable. But as a commenter at Pop and Hiss sagely noted, “it would’ve been nice to hear more off of his new album rather than a jazz fusion set. Felt more like a shred fest than an album release party.”
The full review is over at Pop & Hiss. It is long and filled with thoughts that I would’ve surely expressed here if this blog allowed me to pay my light bill, let alone my rent. More videos of the evening below the jump, courtesy of Glenjamn. And for those latecomers to the astral plane, Lotus’ July Heat, a beat tape that dropped back in 2005 that would be well served for rappers who continue to rhyme over the same damned Lloyd Banks and Juelz Santana instrumental.
ZIP: Flying Lotus – July Heat (Left-Click)