While Cosmogramma is a monolithic convergence of 20th and 21st century musical forms, high in concept and wide in musical collaboration, Pattern+Grid World pulls the focus back to Steven Ellison and his machines. These machines are speaking (and possibly looking as well, judging by the EPâ€™s cover) from the go, as â€œClayâ€ introduces itself in a fog of synth and vocoder and gives way to one of the many surprises here, the schizophrenic ping-ponging electro of â€œKill Your Co-Workersâ€. Drenched in alternating melodies, itâ€™s a synthetic counterpart to the grand string and harp arrangements of Cosmogramma, making acclaimed illustrator Theo Ellsworthâ€™s subtly psychedelic cover image of vision-through-noise all the more intimate.
When Flying Lotus records hit their stride, all buttons labeled â€œpauseâ€ and â€œstopâ€ disappear, and this one is no different. â€œPie Faceâ€ is led by icy keys that could almost be mistaken for classic grime, before the stoned plastic marching band steps in. â€œTime Vampiresâ€ amazingly lands somewhere between vintage DJ Premier and Lee Hazelwood, while the stripped back bass and drum explorations of â€œJurassic Notion/M Theoryâ€ are as shamanic and ceremonial as anything youâ€™re likely to hear come out of California. If â€œCamera Dayâ€ brings to mind a certain crew of dungeon-dwelling ATLiens, it wonâ€™t come as much of a surprise that Killer Mike found its syrupy bounce recently inspiring.
Much of the messages surrounding Cosmogrammaâ€™s release as well as reportage on the worldâ€™s ever-emerging beat scenes has painted a picture of Flying Lotus as a patriarchal figure blazing the trail for scores of young artists with new conceptual notions of what can be done with a drum machine and a dream. While this notion is certainly not inaccurate, it sometimes overshadows the fact that FlyLo is also an incredibly singular entity. However, as â€œPhysics For Everyone!â€ stutters to a close, if you listen closely you might just make out the sound of another kid in his room somewhere in the world, anxiously tapping out his first beat.