...And the World Laughs With You

Album: Cosmogramma (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • This is a track from Cosmogramma, the third album from Californian experimental multi-genre music producer, and musician Flying Lotus, whose real name is Steve Ellison.
  • This is a collaboration with Radiohead's Thom Yorke. Ellison told Rolling Stone that he and Yorke are something of "astral brothers," they share the same birthday on October 7th, and the Californian literally dreamed Yorke would reach out to him. He first got in touch with Yorke through mutual friend BBC DJ Mary Anne Hobbs, who convinced Radiohead to give him a spot officially remixing the English band's 2007 track, "Reckoner." The band accepted the remix and a meeting with Yorke in Japan followed. "The meeting was really nice, but brief." he said. Eerie is the word for what happened next. Said Ellison: "I had a dream I was an accomplice to some murder. I saw someone get killed and I didn't say anything. I was walking the streets with it in the back of my mind and I wanted a beer so I go into Trader Joe's and Thom Yorke's in there, like, 'Hey, let's have a beer and a catch up.'
    "I woke up from that to the e-mail saying he'd like me to join them on the tour. I wish I'd made it up," he confessed. "I have weird stuff like that happen to me all the time."
    The Californian musician evidently made an impression on Yorke. "I sent him some tunes, and two days later I had some vocals in my e-mail," Ellison said.
  • Ellison told The Guardian May 1, 2010: "That tune comes from a tough time in my life. As the song says, laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone. People don't really care to be around you when you're going through tough times. That feeling you're kind of alien, Thom really got that."
  • Ellison is the nephew of pianist Alice Coltrane, who is the late wife of legendary jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. The album title comes from a lecture his Aunt Alice gave. "She was talking about the material world, and how this world is illusionary," explained Ellison to The Guardian." I was like, 'Cosmogramma? Is that a real word?' So I looked it up, and it refers to a study of the universe – a map of the universe, in relation to heaven and hell. I was like, 'Wait a minute… I think that's where I'm headed!'"

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