Lost in space

Check <i>Cosmogramma</i> out at <a href="http://www.flying-lotus.com/">www.flying-lotus.com</a>.

Check Cosmogramma out at www.flying-lotus.com.

Critics were typically quick to slap both praise and pigeonholes onto Flying Lotus’ second album, Cosmogramma, which dropped last month on Warp Records. Reviews read like eulogies—Metacritic says the album scored an “88” average, surely to be one of the year’s top marks—and critics’ acclaim was like mini paeans to FlyLo’s “space opera” sound.

But Cosmogramma—for all its catchy, decayed synths—Alice Coltrane-inspired psychedelic jazz; and ethereal goodness; is a bit difficult to get into. Tracks flow together like a movie soundtrack—but there’s no dang movie, and nothing that glues together all the harp samples, Squarepusher-esque bass runs and big-ticket cameos, such as Thom Yorke on “… And the World Laughs With You.” In fact, Yorke and FlyLo’s collaboration is the sum of Cosmogramma’s parts: The song is barely such, a piecemeal of three or four ideas that never quite become a cohesive, memorable whole. Sure, Yorke’s vocal samples are predictably catchy, and the sharp, thumping bass slides contrast nice with the heavenly programming. But in less than three minutes, it’s gone; on to another spacey, ambient, jazz-infused, meandering electronica track. And then another.

And so, perhaps FlyLo might heed his moniker: Come back down to Earth; give us some beats that hit the pavement solid.