Pattern + Grid World EP - (2010)
While Cosmogramma is a monolithic convergence of 20th and 21st century musical forms, high in concept and wide in musical collaboration, Pattern+Grid World pulls the focus back to Steven Ellison and his machines. These machines are speaking (and possibly looking as well, judging by the EP's cover) from the go, as "Clay" introduces itself in a fog of synth and vocoder and gives way to one of the many surprises here, the schizophrenic ping-ponging electro of "Kill Your Co-Workers". Drenched in alternating melodies, it's a synthetic counterpart to the grand string and harp arrangements of Cosmogramma, making acclaimed illustrator Theo Ellsworth's subtly psychedelic cover image of vision-through-noise all the more intimate. When Flying Lotus records hit their stride, all buttons labeled "pause" and "stop" disappear, and this one is no different. "Pie Face" is led by icy keys that could almost be mistaken for classic grime, before the stoned plastic marching band steps in. "Time Vampires" amazingly lands somewhere between vintage DJ Premier and Lee Hazelwood, while the stripped back bass and drum explorations of "Jurassic Notion/M Theory" are as shamanic and ceremonial as anything you're likely to hear come out of California. If "Camera Day" brings to mind a certain crew of dungeon-dwelling ATLiens, it won't come as much of a surprise that Killer Mike found its syrupy bounce recently inspiring.