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Studio album by Flying Lotus
Released 20 April 2010 (2010-04-20)
Recorded 2009
Genre Experimental,[1] left-field hip hop,[1] nu jazz,[2] instrumental hip hop,[3] psychedelic hip hop,[3] IDM[4]
Length 45:36
Label Warp
Producer Flying Lotus
Flying Lotus chronology
L.A. EP 3 X 3
Pattern+Grid World
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 86/100[5]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[6]
The A.V. Club A[7]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[8]
MSN Music A–[9]
NME 8/10[10]
Pitchfork Media 8.8/10[2]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[11]
Slant Magazine 4.5/5 stars[12]
Spin 8/10[13]
The Sunday Times 5/5 stars[14]

Cosmogramma is the third studio album by American music producer Flying Lotus, released on May 3, 2010, by Warp Records.[15] The title comes from an incident when he was listening to an Ashram lecture from his great-aunt Alice Coltrane and he misheard the words "cosmic drama" as cosmogramma. The album entered and peaked at number 60 on the UK Albums Chart.[16]


On October 31, 2008, Ellison's mother died suddenly of complications from diabetes. This was only a year and some months after his great-aunt Alice Coltrane passed. "I decided that if I was going to speak after that experience," said Ellison, "it better be something honest, and deeper than a record that was just made for the times. I wanted to do something that made her proud. Something that could last forever, hopefully."

The title "Cosmogramma" is a obstruction of Cosmic Drama. As Flying Lotus put it, "My aunt had an ashram in Agoura full of devotees... And I was listening to one of her recorded discourses talking about how once this earthly experience is over, we won't be wearing our costumes anymore, playing parts in this 'cosmic drama,' she called it. "But I thought she said 'cosmogramma.' That word haunted me for a long time until I found out it actually exists. It refers to the study of the universe, and heaven and hell as well."

The album came at a time where Ellison's personal life had gone through significant changes, both his mother and aunt had passed, and up to this period he had gained critical acclaim for his past work on "Los Angeles". Los Angeles had made a huge impact on the Los Angeles Beat Scene, and Ellison's music was appearing on features for Adult Swim. From this point of anticipation, and the timing of his mother's passing, the timing was ideal for his creative growth. Cosmogramma marked a shift in Ellison's writing from laptop-based work using programs such as Ableton Live to a live band, which he named INFINITY -or- .[17]


As opposed to previous releases, which were primarily based on electronic and digital mediums, Cosmogramma marked a change for Flying Lotus. The album consisted of live performances, including elements such as harp, bass, strings, live drums, and saxophone. The album incorporated the talent of Bassist Thundercat (who has worked with Suicidal Tendencies and Snoop Dogg), Rebekah Raff (Ghostface Killah, Partch Ensemble, and daKAH Hip Hop Orchestra), Ravi Coltrane, Low Leaf, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (OutKast, and John Cale), Niki Randa, and guest vocals from Thom Yorke of Radiohead. He calls this a move towards a more "Organix" sound as opposed to quantizing his beats, allowing himself to work outside of the "grid".[18]

The sessions began in October 2008, immediately following his Sophomore album Los Angeles. Following a session for the track Computer Face, He had found the energy and theme for Cosmogramma. "...I did that "Computer Face" song. There was a different energy in the studio and there was a whole burst of tracks around it. I felt different creating it. This energy shaped everything else."

While his mother was in the hospital, Steve brought in a mobile recording rig and set microphones around her room to gather audio samples: the hypnotic wheeze of a respirator, the ambient pings of vital-sign monitors. The samples would be used in the closing track Galaxy in Janaki. The track acted as a tribute to his mother who passed shortly before the album's release. On the process of recording his mother's respirator, "I know it was a weird thing to do," Ellison said. "I'm not the type to go out recording things like that. But I didn't want to forget that space." When asked where the title came from "...That's the term my aunt gave my mother. It means mother as well."

For the track And the World Laughs with You, Steve was put in contact with Thom Yorke by Mary Anne Hobbs, they started conversing the same day. After a series of trading emails, Steve received the vocals in his email and began mixing. The track was titled before Thom had written lyrics. He had decided to keep the original title, which Ellison appreciated, stating "He also kept the same name I had for it, which really meant a lot to me. All of the song titles mean something, and that one does for sure... I was making the tune with the frustration of no one being able to understand what the hell was going on. As long as things were cool, you had the whole world behind you. Fucking weird shit happens, you find yourself counting friends on your fingers."

Do the Astral Plane features Scatting & vocals from Ellison.[19]

The mastering process was extensive, Daddy Kev, of Low End Theory & Alpha Pup Records, Handled mastering which was overlooked by Ellison. As Daddy Kev put it "..a mastering job that normally takes a few hours wound up lasting four months. Even after we sent the masters off, I'd wake up to my phone ringing and think, 'Please don't let it be Steve wanting to change something.' "[20]


Leading up to and following the release of Cosmogramma, Flying Lotus toured through The Europe & USA, with a live band called INFINITY. INFINITY is a traveling team of players from Cosmogramma including Ravi Coltrane, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Thundercat, Rebekah Raff and many more. The album release party was held over two nights at Low End Theory In Los Angeles California. The show also had opening performances from Ravi Coltrane, Low End resident DJ The Gaslamp Killer, Gonjasufi, and sound artist Matthewdavid.[21]

Infinity Band Members[edit]

  • Bass - Thundercat
  • Harp - Rebekah Raff
  • Strings - Miguel Atwood-Ferguson

Critical reception[edit]

The album was awarded the top spot in Exclaim! Magazine's annual ranking of electronic albums. Dimitri Nasrallah writes of Flying Lotus, "In the five years since he first appeared on the scene, the Los Angeles native's talents have grown in such leaps and bounds that he now finds himself pioneering a full-blown West-Coast beats renaissance."[22] More recently, it was ranked the 14th best album of 2010 by Pitchfork Media[23] and the best album of the year at the Gilles Peterson World Wide Awards 2011.[24]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Flying Lotus, except where noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Clock Catcher"     1:12
2. "Pickled!"     2:14
3. "Nose Art"     1:58
4. "Intro//A Cosmic Drama"     1:11
5. "Zodiac Shit"     2:48
6. "Computer Face//Pure Being"     2:33
7. "...And the World Laughs with You" (featuring Thom Yorke) Flying Lotus, Thom Yorke 2:55
8. "Arkestry"     2:51
9. "MmmHmm" (featuring Thundercat) Flying Lotus, Stephen Bruner 4:15
10. "Do the Astral Plane"     3:58
11. "Satelllliiiiiiiteee"     3:49
12. "German Haircut"     1:57
13. "Recoiled"     3:37
14. "Dance of the Pseudo Nymph"     2:47
15. "Drips//Auntie's Harp"     2:10
16. "Table Tennis" (featuring Laura Darlington) Flying Lotus, Laura Darlington 3:02
17. "Galaxy in Janaki"     2:28


  • Brian Martinez – guitar (track 16)
  • Dorian Concept (Oliver Thomas Johnson) – keyboard (track 11)
  • Laura Darlington – vocals (track 16)
  • Low Leaf – keyboard (track 14)
  • Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – strings and string arrangements (tracks 4, 5, 10, 15, 17)
  • Niki Randa – vocals (track 4)
  • Ravi Coltrane – tenor saxophone (tracks 8, 12)
  • Rebekah Raff – harp (tracks 1, 4, 5, 8, 12, 13, 15, 17)
  • Richard Eigner – drums (track 12)
  • Thom Yorke – vocals (track 7)
  • Thundercat (Stephen Bruner) – bass (tracks 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 14, 17), vocals (tracks 9, 14)
  • Todd Simon – trumpet (track 10)

Technical personnel[edit]


  1. ^ a b Lymangrover, Jason. "Cosmogramma - Flying Lotus". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Colly, Joe (May 6, 2010). "Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved November 28, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Pattison, Louis. "Flying Lotus sets the controls for psychedelic hip-hop". Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Dean, Jonathan. "Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma". Tiny Mixtapes. Retrieved 14 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Reviews for Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus". Metacritic. Retrieved November 28, 2015. 
  6. ^ Lymangrover, Jason. "Cosmogramma – Flying Lotus". AllMusic. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ Martins, Chris (May 4, 2010). "Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 28, 2015. 
  8. ^ MacInnes, Paul (April 29, 2010). "Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma". The Guardian (London). Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 21, 2011). "Flying Lotus/Eskmo". MSN Music. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  10. ^ Parkin, Chris (April 30, 2010). "Album Review: Flying Lotus – 'Cosmogramma' (Warp)". NME. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  11. ^ Dolan, Jon (May 4, 2010). "Cosmogramma". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 15, 2015. 
  12. ^ Cole, Matthew (May 12, 2010). "Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma". Slant Magazine. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  13. ^ Reeves, Mosi (May 4, 2010). "Flying Lotus, ‘Cosmogramma’ (Warp)". Spin. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010. Retrieved November 28, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma Review". The Sunday Times (London). May 1, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Warp / Records / Releases / Flying Lotus / Cosmogramma". Retrieved 2011-02-27. 
  16. ^ Chris Martins (2010-05-13). "Flying Lotus Rising - Page 1 - Music - Los Angeles". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2011-02-27. 
  17. ^ Crowell, John. "Flying Lotus: Interview". Tiny Mixtapes. Retrieved 10 October 2012. 
  18. ^ Martins, Chris. "Flying Lotus Rising". LA WEEKLY. LA WEEKLY. Retrieved 13 May 2010. 
  19. ^ Sisson, Patrick. "INTERVIEWS Flying Lotus". Pitchfork. Pitchfork. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  20. ^ Brown, August. "Flying Lotus could get out from the underground with 'Cosmogramma'". LA Times. Retrieved 4 May 2010.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  21. ^ "FLYING LOTUS: 3 very different London dates // ‘Inside The Codex: The Art Of Cosmogramma’ Video". noizenews. WWW.NOIZEMAKESENEMIES.CO.UK. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  22. ^ Dimitri Nasrallah {Exclaim! Electronic Year in Review, 2010} [1]
  23. ^ "The Top 50 Albums of 2010". Pitchfork Media. 
  24. ^ Gilles Peterson - Worldwide Awards 2011

External links[edit]