Good things come in 12 inch packages. Delivering limited edition pressings of new and classic albums directly to your doorstep, Vinyl Me, Please operates under a simple philosophy: The Album Lives. With a carefully curated catalog of new and hard to find releases, the subscription service is more than just a record club, it’s a lifestyle choice for folks who wish Record Store Day could happen every month … in their living room.
Here’s how it works. You send Vinyl Me, Please some of your hard-earned money (plans start at $27/month) and they send you one meticulously selected album worthy of your time and attention. Easy, right? Each custom pressing (often on colored vinyl!) also comes with special features like original artwork and even a recipe for a companion cocktail. You’ll have membership privileges in the VMP shop, which means you can grab a copy of previous VMP selections from the archives – including killer reissues of Stax Classics like Eddie Floyd’s Knock on Wood – not to mention a bevy of rare and exclusive releases. The store is now open. It’s chock full of sexy new discs that need a loving home. And Team VMP are dropping fresh new selections to their stock every single week. Do not miss out.
Whatever styles or artists or limited edition pressings you’re looking for, you’re bound to find something worth your time and money in the VMP Store. While that store is open to the public, many of the more covet-worthy selections are only available to members, so you’ve gotta sign up to get your mitts on them. If you’re peckish about relinquishing control of your record collection over to complete strangers, know that VMP’s Swaps Program is in full effect. That means you can flip any VMP pick you don’t like for a past AOM (or other VMP Exclusive pressings) that’s a little more your speed. My advice? Don’t overthink it. Do yourself a favor and sign up today.
So, what’s in the box for January? Get ready to take a head-nodding ride through the kaleidoscopic soundscapes of Flying Lotus’ Cosmogramma.
For the Love of Music, Please DO NOT BEND (or, how I learned that sometimes you don’t know an essential until you hear it on vinyl)
To some, Steve Ellison is the filmmaker behind 2017’s trippy, and tragically misunderstood dramedy Kuso. To others, he’s the luchador-masked rapper Captain Murphy, the brain behind some of Adult Swim’s best theme music, and the founder of the Brainfeeder record label. He’s also the grandson of Motown singer/songwriter Marilyn McLeod, and as such is related to both McLeod’s sister Alice Coltrane and her husband John – yes, that Alice and John Coltrane. Side gigs and familial relations aside, odds are you know Ellison best for the experimental, hip-hop tinged, electronic space jazz confections he spins under the moniker Flying Lotus. And if not, get ready for head/rump/soul-shaking introduction with Vinyl Me, Please’s stunning new release of FlyLo’s complex, convex, often confounding, and altogether awe-inspiring third album Cosmogramma.
Now, if you’re currently thinking to yourself, “damn, that’s lot of adjectives to attach to a single album,” well, you’re probably right. For the record, I steadfastly believe them all to be fitting, and that they’re still not enough to fully encapsulate the all but unclassifiable sounds and musical contortions and effervescent energy that pervades Flying Lotus’ music. In fact, I hesitate to even call what he makes music. What Flying Lotus does is more akin to weaving densely textured sonic tapestries best experienced while exploring the far reaches of space and time.
That’s exactly what Flying Lotus does with Cosmogramma, crafting an unyieldingly opaque electronic opus born of grief, fueled by an infectious fascination with words/worlds/sounds both familiar and mysterious, cultivated with the raucous energy of an underground mixtape, and driven by the compulsively impulsive feel of free jazz. Of course, like free jazz itself, nothing is entirely as impulsive as it seems in the 17 audacious tracks that form Cosmogramma‘s enigmatic whole.
No, every single note, and word, and stark tonal shift throughout Cosmogramma was pored over, meticulously placed, and executed with the precision of a renaissance painter. Simply put, Cosmogramma is unlike anything you’ve ever heard … even if you’re familiar with Flying Lotus’ other works. It’s an album seemingly flung through space and back again, determined to pull listeners along for a wild ride through aural landscapes heralding the delights of far off lands at once bright, bountiful, bleak, and brutal.
Flying Lotus achieves that fantastical effect via a sonic language that should be all but indecipherable to humanity. With help from guests Thundercat, Laura Darlington, Thom Yorke, and more, Flying Lotus manages to imbue that language with such compassion and humility that Cosmogramma never feels bogged down by the heft of its weighty inspirations, or its even loftier aspirations. Instead, Cosmogramma utilizes its spaced-out intensity and intrinsic insanity to deliver an insulating, operatic, even cathartic exploration of one’s place in the cosmos at large. One that’s not always easy to hear, but one that will prove profoundly rewarding for those willing to decipher the message.
Look, Cosmogramma is a wildly eclectic, often harrowing journey into the endless possibilities of music. So yeah, I suppose it may be a bit like following a mysterious electronic signal into a black hole of sonic energy. Enjoy the trip, my friends.
Now, as much as I know you want to rip open that resealable poly sleeve and start spinning, you really should take note of the important info on this little sticker first. Half-Speed Remastering at Alchemy UK? Check. Colored wax? Check. Exclusive, alternative cover art (created by the artist himself)? Check. If you didn’t already consider Cosmogramma an Essential for your record collection, this sexy as hell pressing is likely to change your mind.
Just to make sure you understand that fact, Team VMP even gave it a shiny silvered foil stamp to hammer that fact home.
Now that we’ve got that protective sleeve out-of-the-way, let’s take a moment to digest this info on the VMP designed OBI strip wrapped around the spine, ’cause there’s some vital information there. Like the artist/album names, and the catalog number for this Essentials release. Believe it or not, this is edition number 73 from Team VMP.
On the flip side of that strip, you’ll find a few words about what makes Cosmogramma a Vinyl Me, Please Essential.
And if you’re the sort who likes to enjoy an adult beverage with every spin session, you’ll want to check the little tab folded inside, ’cause that’s where you’ll find the Cosmogramma inspired cocktail. It’s called ‘Zodiac Shit,’ and it’s got a Mezcal base … which is traditionally not my cup of tea, even if I am intrigued by how that Mezcal will pair with the Campari. So, yeah, I may give this one a go anyway.
Keep digging and you’ll uncover this stunning bit of album-inspired, original artwork courtesy of Berlin based experimental visualist David McLeod. Gotta say, of all the VMP inspired artwork I’ve seen, this one is a personal fave.
Just FYI – many of the Vinyl Me, Please Essentials picks come housed in a sturdy, gatefold sleeve, inside of which you’ll find even more artsy touches. Like so.
You’ll find even more artistic flourishes – along with liner notes and track listings – on the individual dust sleeves as well.
Just in case you were worried the discs might pale in comparison to the rest of the packaging, I can assure you that smoky black/white vinyl will not disappoint.
Yes, there’s two of them.
And either one will bring some serious swagger to your deck.
How do they sound? Like you fell asleep with Coltrane blaring in your headphones, woke up to Boards of Canada, and probably had the complete works of Aphex Twin and J Dilla soundtracking some seriously whacked out dreams in between.
Give It a Spin
I’ll be the first to admit a little uncertainty about qualifying Cosmogramma as an Essential album. Not because I don’t dig what Flying Lotus does, but mostly because I’ve always felt that Los Angeles was, is, and probably always will be his best release. As it happens, I still believe that to be true, but this gorgeous new pressing from Vinyl Me, Please has more than proven Cosmogramma worthy of that Essential ranking. Thanks to Team VMP for helping me figure that out, and for making every month another wild ass musical adventure!
A big THANK YOU to our friends at Vinyl Me, Please for sponsoring this subscription. Don’t forget to check out the official Vinyl Me, Please website and sign up to get some choice wax delivered right to your door each and every month! Here’s hoping they deliver another crunchy treat for February!