Record Label: Technicolour
Underground electronic talisman Kutmah doesn’t often release new music. That’s an approach that runs counter to the paradigm; unedited, under considered, unfinished songs being constantly flung up onto blogs and Soundclouds - and that alone makes him stand out. More so though, the quality of his music does. Remember that first, visceral thrill you felt at hearing music made electronically? The sort of thing that came out Germany in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, the weird, hypnotic, gripping meld of soul and machine? That’s the sort of shock of the new you hear in Kutmah.
Our Mannequin conjures up the spirit of early electronic music in more ways than one. His funk-ridden drums and bass, synths that drench over the ear like waves, and filtered, robotic vocals hark back to German synth-wave and post-punk. The difference is the in the tempo, which clearly demarcates Kutmah's roots in the LA-via-London, leftfield beat scene.
The first clubs Kutmah went to were goth industrial nights, where he heard "weird shit that you can dance to." That clearly shows on this latest EP. It’s easy to forget the funk you could hear in early industrial music; can still hear in the long-living pioneers like Richard H Kirk. "No one was chatting, they were just dancing" Kutmah says of clubs such as Kontrol Factory in Hollywood. If he loved the music, he was less keen on the scene.
His early musical axis ran between Suicide and NWA, influences that go some way to representing the originality you hear in his music. It was after he was deported back to the UK from LA that he "locked himself in a room and made this dark record." He brought the EPs collaborators into the shadows with him. "Zackey Force Funk usually make’s thug dance music," Kutmah says, "and Seven Davis JR will never do a record like this again."
The EP "represents the third member of a relationship," he says, cryptically. One thing is for certain, this is music of rare quality, and it entrances the ear from a first listen. Kutmah’s inspiration may have been darkness, but that locked room was vibrantly fruitful.
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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