London has its fair share of intriguing, talented, producers, DJs and artists, not many, however, have the recent back story to match Justin 'Kutmah' McNulty. He may have been born in Brighton and live in London but before that he was living the high life in LA clubland, shacked up in Hollywood. All that changed four years ago when the feds turned up, arrested him, detained him in New Mexico for a few months and then subsequently deported him. Our gain, their loss... they still don't do electro/dance/techno etc etc like we do.
Having locked himself (rather than someone locking him) into his room to make this 'dark record', Kutmah has released this 6 track EP, through Ninja Tunes, following on from his other limited releases to date (his quality control ethos is either a little pompous or particularly adroit depending on your take).
The darkly playful, upbeat suppression of the funkily infused 'Noise In My Brain' heads up the six track EP. The manipulated vocoder vocals sit menacingly behind a rather retro synth loop as the bleeps and beeps vie for air space in a mix itching to be cranked up and set free. 'Tranzition' featuring Zackey Force Funk (of whom Kutmah says "usually makes thug dance music") is up next. The tempo is turned down a notch or two, the lights dimmed a little further, the vocals delivered in a smooth soulful flow and the soundscape adjusted to a lush cinematic expanse.
'Agaimato', featuring Seven Davis Jnr, the only other collaborator on the EP, sees Kutmah return to his preferred electro leanings with a short but effective track deploying a more harmonious vocal treatment. The Moroder influenced flashback, replete with drum machine percussion, has an almost early OMD flavour to it.
The remaining 3 tracks, 'Coprolalia' (where 'Sorry Ms Jackson' seems to be muffled somewhere in the basement trying hard to get out as the half time vocals spew out in a Doctor Who character circa '72 fashion), the shorter, far sweeter but largely directionless 'Amargossa' and doom laden, post-apocalyptic finale 'Leaving' wrap up the EP.
If 'Our Mannequin' is the perfected product Kutmah would have us believe it is then I won't be holding my breathe for his next release. It's good, in parts, but not that good that you'd have goose pimples on first listen. Perhaps he should take a change of tack, there's plenty of genius generated from making the odd mistake.
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