Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma [Warp, 2010]
Never what most would call dancefloor-friendly, Steven Ellison goes all extended-work on us for 45 minutes, but that doesn't mean the 17 tracks just morph on. A few times they come close, but more often they pause and transition and sometimes they shift gears altogether--the whole is segmented, but subtly. Live harp to live bass to looped/sampled beats; bassy dream-pop to jazz scat to chipmunk space-kitsch. Part of its delight is how naturally the disparate parts fit together, but another part is how they add up to phantasmagoria if you let your attention wander (and don't be a tight-ass--you should). Thom Yorke contributes a vocal so modest and treated that you'll barely notice it's there. Not so the ping-pong volleys--part live and part looped, I think--that provides climactic end-game percussion. A-