Sonic Gardens: Thoughts A Mess

Could you imagine being yanked out of your life and sat down half way across the world? I’m tripping off being stuck in my apartment, unable to walk for a few days – what the hell would happen if my comfortable surroundings were no more? It’s something artist, DJ and producer Kutmah experienced at the hands of the American government. It’s been well documented, and you can read more about it here.

Back in his motherland, he has settled into a groove it seems and I imagine connections weren’t too hard to come by given his LA rep. He connected with Gilles Peterson to drop of Volume Two in the Worldwide Family series. The first volume was a double disc affair curated by Lefto and Simbad – its been in my iTunes for over a year, never giving it a listen in full but never hearing anything bad enough to merit yanking it for space.

Volume Two here features an assortment of spacy, funky, vibe heavy, beat oriented jams. Some feature vocalists and some do not. I first was impressed by the sounds coming out of my speakers at about three in the morning while zoning out contemplating the color schemes taking over my foot. I was hit by pulsating vibrations and hazy optimism.

My injury has inspired much thought and with what has felt like endless time, moments to examine some new sounds and read some new thoughts. My southern sojourn is feeling more real and complex, moving halfway across the country can’t be done in my typical spur of the moment fashion can it?

As I was splashed in the face with waves of synthesizers from mostly unknown talent I just had to imagine the possibilities of excitement in hearing something new for the first time. Perhaps it’s young naiveness, but the thought of adventure somewhere new with music as the goal feels right. When doesn’t the thought of adventure sound right? My dilemma…

Adventures require a soundtrack and as I lay here, leg iced and elevated, scouring the iTunes and even updating it with a new thousand songs, I love the thought of having this collection of random jams collected and ready to play on shuffle. Most of what Kutmah picked for us isn’t the kind of thing that moves me in any particular way. He opens up strong and floats in and out attention worthy moments. “Blunt Hopes” speaks to my own addictions somewhat and its second movement of sorts is a trippy end to what kicks off as just another underground LA rap song.

“Ridda Mountain”

Mo Kolours opens the set of with what feels like a groove straight out of an underground Kingston studio. “Ridda Mountain” is cloudy in all the right ways. I’m almost certain I got high off the song alone. Hudson Mohawke comes through with a big winner in “Are You Feeling Hot?”. Initially blowing me away for its subtlety you will be quick to scream Dilla as it plays out and it’s a fair impression – my guess is they asked for something and he found an old throwaway that would never have seen the light of day otherwise. I’m not mad at it one bit as the song is truly beautiful and hints at a younger HudMo experimenting and growing, practicing with styles. After all we know there is a ton more to him than Dilla knockoffs.

“Are You Feeling Hot?”

Sadly all the Brainfeeder sightings here disappoint me, feeling lazy, tired and obligatory.

The record closes on a humble and almost sorrowful note with a series of four songs that all feature haunting vocals and melodies. They all feel like they want to borrow from the early 90s Acid Jazz styles Peterson first got a name for exposing along with the new sounds in LA Kutmah has played an intricate role in pushing out.

Dakim’s “TypeofBlue” is frantic and skittering with clicks and clacks working as drums over a hazy bass line in there somewhere. Feeling the most modern of the sequence it puts your mind in overdrive and begs you to stop what you are doing and listen.

Doc Daneeka and Abigal Wyles follow and it feels like something I could play for my mom. My mom’s taste is hipper than yours so don’t fret. Gone are any of the on edge electronic sounds used moments before to such great reach. Here Daneeka concots an almost drumless bed of aether along with some electronic piano chords while Wyles sings in a restrained and warm voice.

“Twin Flame”

Gaby Hernandez strikes a more firm jazz influence with “Twin Flame.” Featuring some live instruments, the song stands out as a much more traditional groove than most of what is present across the 21 tracks here. And Gaby’s voice is welcoming enough that it’s nothing to bat an eye at. There are some fun adlibs present in the song, and it sounds about perfect for a sunsetting evening on a beach with good people.

fLako’s “Lonely Town” is the final note here. Featuring Dirg Gerner, it feels like a real duet, and makes me want to see them perform it live as I can see as I listen fLako playing the entirety of the beat out live on one machine. Dirg voice is perfect for the wafting synth washes present and the electronic drum hit feels in tune with his vocal range quite nicely.

“Lonely Town”

Call it music you can dream too, music you can adventure too.

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One Response to “Sonic Gardens: Thoughts A Mess”

  1. [...] when your head stops hurting, go read about some beats to journey with. Share [...]

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