Los Angeles, by Flying Lotus
Suggested by Jamie Walsh
Historically, urine has a variety of uses.
Perhaps the best-known use for urea is in the textile industry. It acts as a mordant, binding a dye to a textile by attaching it to a metal ion, which will then have a much stickier outlook on life. It was used on tweeds, and in the Scottish Highlands on the rough fabric of kilts. Molecules of ammonia can help develop the colour of dyes too, alongside their cloth-binding properties.
Urine was also a prime ingredient of gunpowder, until science uncovered a synthesising process in the early twentieth century that allowed for mass production of potassium nitrate a.k.a. saltpetre. Before that, would-be demolishers took advantage of the nitrogen naturally found in pee to make the key ingredient for ballistic firepower.
Surprisingly, there are medical uses for urine. Many people believe that drinking one’s own yellow liquid effluvia promotes a plethora of benefits, using it to treat such diverse ailments as acne, stuffy noses, allergies, rashes, and cancer. Yes, that’s right… cancer.
And if you’re after a dazzling smile, urine can aid you there too. If you allow your ‘personal water’ to ferment, then regularly use it as a mouthwash, the active ingredient of ammonia can lift those stubborn stains clean off the enamel.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I would rather gargle a bucket of stagnant piss than listen to another second of Flying Lotus.
Los Angeles is a discordant flange of miscellaneous sounds, presented with the barest minimum of care and attention. At once both ambient soundscape and collapsing trophy cabinet, each song manages to bore, irritate, anger and depress me, consecutively and consistently. It’s the sound of a hoover strapped to a glockenspiel being kicked down a set of concrete stairs, and as harrowing as a cousin getting stabbed in the leg.
My distaste for the more crippling experimental side of music is well documented, but this crap takes the biscuit. It’s pitched in such a way that there’s not enough coherent design to make it interesting, yet too much flailing waffle to successfully ignore. In fact, calling it music is a disservice, to the medium. This isn’t music. It’s what happens when you switch on every appliance in your house simultaneously then drive a flock of geese through your living room.
The songs are, at least, different from each other. Then again, a fart isn’t a belch, and you can’t dance to either one. The opener Brainfeeder sounds like a VHS recording of a Hammer Horror Film Soundtrack being played through a crackling megaphone, while Sleepy Dinosaur sounds like a blaring broken car alarm layered over someone tumble drying a skeleton. My favourite song is Parisian Goldfish, which actually has a modicum of pulsating dancehall chic to it, but if I’m honest I chose it on the strength of the name.
Los Angeles gets a woeful 1/10, leaving me with a pressing need to fill my ears with bleach. Unlike urine, I can’t think of a single use for this musical excrement.