If Flying Lotus’s last LP, ‘You’re Dead!’, didn’t give you a hint that the L.A. producer, filmmaker, and all-around creative might have a bit of a morbid fascination, his feature film debut Kuso should do the trick.
While Flying Lotus – or ‘Steve’ as his director credit reads – has downplayed the significance of the walkouts the film experienced during its press screening at Sundance, as well as the claims that it is the “grossest film ever made”, there’s no doubt that those who are brave enough to wade in Kuso’s waters are in for a hell of a ride. While the synopsis is relatively simple – “Broadcasting through a makeshift network of discarded televisions, Kuso is tangled up in the aftermath of Los Angeles’ worst quake nightmare. Travel between screens and between aftershocks into the twisted lives of the survived” – the picture being painted by the film’s trailer, and by early reviews, is anything but.
The trailer is as exciting as it is intimidating, stirring up anticipation for performances by Hannibal Burress, Anders Holm, George Clinton, and others, while instilling a strong sense of “what the hell” in regards to the sick, psychedelic, blistery, bodily-fluid filled world of Kuso – which is Japanese for “shit”, in case you were wondering. If the film’s indescribable horrors, divulged by some Sundance attendees, don’t sound like your cup of tea, you can always just close your eyes, and enjoy an original score from Flying Lotus and friends, with collaborators ranging from names like Aphex Twin and Akira Yamaoka, to Brainfeeder staples such as Thundercat and Niki Randa. There have even been hints dropped that FlyLo’s rapping alter-ego, Captain Murphy, will be making an appearance in some capacity.
While the buzz, intrigue, and nausea surrounding Kuso raises all kinds of questions, the most important one for many horror buffs, Flying Lotus fans, and masochists alike is, “How can I see it?”. Well, apparently, it’s complicated. At least for now. In the weeks leading up to Sundance, Flying Lotus’s standard response on Twitter was that he was hoping to find a distribution deal at the festival, and take it from there. However, since Kuso’s screenings, he’s adopted a potentially different attitude, tweeting, “Reality is I’d probably have a better time doing it 100% indie. Still owning the film and touring the album. I’m seriously gonna think it over”, and posting a poll asking fans how they would prefer to receive the film. The takeaway here is two-fold: Kuso could potentially be here sooner rather than later via Brainfeeder, and “the album” is undoubtedly much more than your average film score.
Regardless of all the insanity and semi-controversy surrounding Kuso, it would appear that Flying Lotus has thrown a ridiculous amount of time, passion, effort, and his own money at a project that has the potential to be revolutionary in its own right, even if it makes a few people puke in the process. The exact details of how and when the world will be receiving this visual assault and its auditory accompaniment are still up in the air, but, when the time comes, we’ll be watching. Just not too soon after lunch.