Los Angeles, that city of possibility – so often described by writers and artists as a place of emptiness, favourable to existential anxieties – has nonetheless remained an Eldorado for anyone dreaming of breaking into the entertainment industry. Centred around hope and ambition, the Californian capital is a life-sized theatre where hypocrisy and quirks of all kinds are the daily fare. Tentacular, gigantic, it includes dozens of realities, far apart from one another. This playlist is an illustration of this, but also shows the similarities found across the city’s music. Louis Cole, Kadhja Bonet, Flying Lotus, and Jonwayne all come from the same place? Geographical and social origins don’t necessarily bring them together but the music industry reduces the distance which separates them – even if they don’t actually collaborate together.
There are several fascinating collective adventures of the past ten years. The hardcore and deliberately disturbing rap of the Odd Future collective who only talk about the past; the memory of the promising beginnings that foreshadowed the individual successes of Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Frank Ocean, The Internet (Syd, Matt Martians); that of jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s band, more usually known as The West Coast Get Down collective (Ryan Porter, Miles Mosley), whose leader has skimmed the world’s greatest festival scenes reminding us all that jazz still exists; the very exciting and forward-looking Flying Lotus hip-hop, and experimental electronic music of the Brainfeeder label with Thundercat, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Samiyam, and the late Austin Peralta; and a more recent one from the totally uninhibited funk jazz drummer Louis Cole, co-founder of Knower, around whom gravitates a gaggle of jazz musicians (including the equally crazy Jacob Mann); or that of Adrian Younge, obsessed with vintage aesthetics who, in addition to his musical projects, has opened a record shop/hairdresser and organises LA’s Jazz is Dead parties.
Add to that the individual adventures of Kendrick Lamar – whose album To Pimp a Butterfly will remain one of the most important rap events of 2010 – and those of rising star Anderson .Paak; from the discovery of neo-soul singer Kadhja Bonet, or the rapper and beatmaker who has a lot of hardcore fans, Jonwayne. In sum, it seems neither vain nor overrated to remember that everything happens in Los Angeles.