Friday, 17 July 2009

Kutmah: The Humble Magnificent

DJ, producer and artist Kutmah has long been a major figurehead of the L.A. beat community. The night Sketchbook he curated was a pre-cursor to the Low End scene. Importantly Sketchbook provided an open forum for beatmakers to get their productions out of the bedroom and heard by their peers. Therefore it provided the platform for artists such as Ras G and Dibia$e to establish their now worldwide reputations.
Kutmah's love for the diverse range of L.A. beats can be heard in innovative mixes such as Sacred Geometry, regular DJ sets and his own productions. His beautifully intricate pen drawings have also graced some fine record covers such as Take's Dirty Decibels Of Thomas Two Thousand and Nobody's Mystic Chords Of Memory project. His artistic skills can also be seen in the Dublab Hit And Run T-shirt project and his website.

In The Lab With Computer Jay

The craziest live show I've seen since getting to L.A. has undoubtedly been Computer Jay's recent performance at Breaking Atoms. Be it Jay's scratched dialogue with Comp or his live beatmaking on an Atari joypad, this brothers' show is from another planet!! (unintentenional reference to Ras G!) 
If you have yet to witness this beat magic, all I can say is wait for the documentary!
It was so inspiring to catch up with the mad scientist in the lab. The studio was filled with treats, such as a moog customised with Commodore 64 sounds. Jay demonstrated a vast array of styles from the renowned 8-bit funk to his jazz chops on the keys (honed from an early age and 6 years playing live with The Pharcyde).
I truly urge anyone to see Jay live at any opportunity and also check out his single and upcoming music on Ramp Recordings.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Teebs & Samiyam

Backtracking a little, I caught up with the 2 multi-talented beatmakers last week. I spoke to Teebs about his unique manipulation of a broad sampling spectrum (unrestricted by musical genre) in evoking highly emotive, and often nostalgic beats. We also discussed the visual resonance in his music and the crossover influence into his record cover art.
Afterwards we caught up with Samiyam, who played some exclusive heat straight off the Roland 404. We got into discussing the Rap Beats Vol.1 project and its' homemade aesthetic (down to Sam's hand-drawn individual covers). Also Sam touched upon his diverse beatmaking techniques; from being a pioneer of sampling of 8-bit classics to his signature hard hitting synth beats.
Teebs and Sam are two of the most forward thinking artists around and it was a great experience catching up to witness their relentless and inspiring workrate.

Friday, 3 July 2009

My Cassettes weigh A Ton: Matthew David

In visiting Matthew David, I took my first venture to the periphery of the L.A. beatmaking culture. In his own words Matthew is 'the kid from the beat scene who's not quite in the beat scene'. To explain, Matthew's background as a hip hop DJ and his appreciation of sampling has led him to bring elements of that sound into loose abstract soundpieces. He samples the world around him on a portable tape recorder. There is a freedom in his analog to digital experimentation (sometimes a couple of times over!) that has inspired the leading beatmakers around including Flying Lotus.
Aside from his own music, Matthew has just started a label; Leaving Records. Their first upcoming release is the StandThis EP from the super-talented producer Dak. His name is extremely highly regarded amongst all the Beatheads out here. True to that, StandThis is truly worthy of the 'insane post-Dilla experimental' tag on the labels' blog! I urge everyone to download the ep from itunes on the 7th (or catch the limited edition cassette!)

Seeing Sounds: B+

Brian 'B+' Cross has to be one of the most talented and prolific music photographers/documentarians at work anywhere. As this is essentially the field which I've begun to explore, meeting him was a big deal. I mean who hears Endtroducing without picturing his iconic photo of THAT record store? The music and imagery are one; this guy sees in samples and drum breaks. The close connection between record addict and photographer was clear to see in his living room. 
We delved into various subject matter including: 
his habit as an archivist of sounds and images, 
various documentary projects (currently promoting 'Transition In Translation' with Will Quantic)
the current beatmaking scene in relation to Shadow Mo'Wax era
The Timeless series and Dilla
and the true independence of Mochilla

Oh, and we didn't even get into his basement photo archive yet...