Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Music
cover art

Flying Lotus

Pattern+Grid World

(Warp; US: 21 Sep 2010; UK: 20 Sep 2010)

Review [12.Jan.2011]

Shortly after the term “aquacrunk” went swimming around the music press to describe the liquid arrangements of the various experimental beat makers associated with the L.A.-based, Low End Theory scene,  the movement’s luminary Steven Ellison (aka Flying Lotus) took to Twitter to dismiss the characterization before it stuck, saying “[d]ear journalists, [t]here is no such thing as ‘aquacrunk.’ Please stop trying to put us in a box. We’re just having fun making music.” 


On Flying Lotus’s latest release, the seven-track Pattern+Grid World EP, the electronic music polyglot continues his protean quest to defy all-encompassing labels, while at the same time offering up an affair more easily digestible than his last full-length album and magnum opus, Cosmogramma. Whereas that release was a fall into the multi-layer rabbit hole, chock-full of esoteric density and idiosyncratic genre shifts, Pattern+Grid World could be seen as its whimsical-to-the-point-of-synth-loving companion. 


Opener “Clay” hearkens back to the sound mined by FlyLo on his L.A. EP series. It’s a hodgepodge of spacey ambience, wonky synths juxtaposed with jangling beats and a hint of stretched-out ethereal soul. “Kill Your Co-Workers” is an 8-bit whirlwind pushed along by a ping-pong backbeat and old-school NES samples. Highlight “Jurassic Notion/M Theory” rattles along in tribal drum-and-bass mentalism before speeding up the percussive tone mid-track to a Plastikman-like frenzy. On the superb closer “Physics for Everyone!”, smeared synths give way to intergalactic sirens that ultimately disintegrate into a digital glitch. 


Coming in at just under 20 minutes, Pattern+Grid World is an all too brief affair that may be a bit disconcerting for those looking for the extensive headphone hypnotism that’s offered on the artist’s full lengths. However, even in bit-size doses, Flying Lotus proves that the only thing predictable about him is his consistent capacity to awe.

Rating:

Media
Flying Lotus
Related Articles
By PopMatters Staff
7 Dec 2014
From Polish black metal to mind-blowing progressive R&B and electronic music, 2014's best albums certainly have something for everyone.
17 Nov 2014
PopMatters has 17 new songs plus notes to add to your fall soundtrack.
By Randall Roberts
6 Oct 2014
One key influencer on “You’re Dead!” might be a surprise: the British art-rock quartet Queen, whose labyrinthine early work contained the requisite drama for a journey to the afterlife.
5 Oct 2014
Flying Lotus makes his return with a concept album that is executed exceptionally well, making for arguably the greatest accomplishment in his career thus far.
Comments
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
Announcements

© 1999-2014 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters.com™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.