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Flying Lotus “Cosmogramma” (Warp)

It seems almost like a cliche for white dudes to reference “free jazz” when it comes to electronic music that loosely affiliated, but Cosmogramma earns the reference point. It’s not an album that screams ‘jazzy’ at its listeners, and there are virtually no obvious references to it outside of perhaps the saxophone and drumming found on “German Haircut.” But the free spirit that runs throughout this album is not so far off from that of the jazz genre at its more adventurous – rest assured that no one genre defines this album, where even distinct track markers are not obvious distinction points. Flying Lotus flits between tempos, timbres, genres and sounds effortlessly across these 17 “tracks” (some of which shift gears radically as separate ideas mid-stream). It’s his most vibrant and exciting collection of material to date, always surprising you as it comes. Just when you think you have it figured out, he lobs a straight up smoky disco track at you (“Do The Astral Plane”). It says volumes that one of the least interesting things about this album is the appearance by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke – a track that is quite good actually, but not any more noteworthy than the ingenuity expressed throughout this entire release.

Listen/watch: “Table Tennis”