The one album that defined The Sound of Los Angeles in 2010 came from a spiritually minded stoner from Winnetka with deep jazz connections. Sure, his Los Angeles album from 2008 might have already been a cosmic success, but Flying Lotus' Cosmogramma exploded like a true roadmap of our universe, an operatic ascension story that defines this moment in this city and, as our cover story put it, reinvents the West Coast Sound for the 21st century. Here are five reasons why:
5. The mesmerizing and trippy Fieldlines App.
Watch Cosmogramma art come alive with this free "augmented reality" app to support the record, developed by Aaron Meyers, with sound design by Flying Lotus and harp by Rebekah Raff, based on the album artwork by Leigh J. McCloskey.
4.The mindmelting music videos Cosmogramma tracks inspire.
See the heavy psychedelic nightmare/wonderland "Mmhmm," featuring Thundercat, directed by Special Problems. Check this out to see a pot plant with a stem made of a lady dancing with a cosmic warrior in a feathered headdress.
3. All of the tiny, delicate details.
The whizzing sounds of the hospital machines that kept his mother breathing right before her passing are quietly folded into the record. Metallic coughs of a loved one looped in would make most people highly uncomfortable, but the inclusion of unusual and sometimes hard-to-recognize sounds gives this album its soul.
2. Cosmogramma is more ambitious than 99 percent of music produced this year - maybe even this decade.
Lotus bends electronic, hip hop, and jazz sounds and odd indistinguishable noises that may or may not be from this planet so seamlessly until they sound like nothing of this world. The result is a blending of incredibly complex melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic elements into one beautiful celestial landscape.
1. Cosmogramma is the ultimate statement of the world-renowned L.A. beat scene, and possibly of an entire generation of musicians.
With the release of Cosmogramma, Flying Lotus established himself as one of the most visible members of an emerging group of like-minded artists and beatmakers, many of which are associated with his own label/collective Brainfeeder, and nearly all of which meet up at the legendary Low End Theory for creative cross-pollination unparalleled right now in any other city in the world.