Saturday, December 7, 2013

IZWID, Kutmah, and Hit + Run

Last weekend I checked out the Red Bull Sound Select presents … /Hit + Run gig at Wellington’s Bodega venue. It was a rare night out, not only for the opportunity it presented to hook up with a bunch of old faces from way back, but for the promise of a handful of top drawer travelling DJs, and to experience live screen-printing as performance art … or to witness live art as performance. Or something.

I’d committed to doing it sober … (ish), so it’s fair to say the night had a sharper edge to it than it normally would, but the vibe around the venue was warm and generous, and the beats were never anything less than the main attraction … despite one half of the dancefloor seamlessly morphing into an art studio for much of the night. The first 100 punters walked away with a hand-picked design screen-printed tee, as the smoothly oiled Hit + Run Crew did its thing. It was a lot of fun. 
I went primarily to catch up with Hit + Run marketing guru Scott Bulloch, a long-time friend of some 30 years. I’d been in touch with him via social media earlier in the week, after noticing another project he’s been heavily involved with – IZWID – was starting to gain some serious traction. I was keen to learn what that was all about, and after experiencing the artistic aesthetic of Hit + Run first hand last weekend, I can now see exactly what IZWID is setting out to achieve … a compelling blend of art, music, and performance.

I asked Scott to explain where IZWID comes from, what drives it, who’s involved, and what we can expect in the future …

“IZWID is the imprint of an artist called Kutmah, a place we can release the music and art which have been secret signatures in Kutmah’s performances over the last few years. From what I understand, “Iswid" is Egyptian for “black”… Kutmah (of Egyptian heritage) explained to me that his mum always pronounced her “S’s” as “Z’s”, IZWID id iz then!

Kutmah is probably one of music’s best kept secrets in London right now, he’s a tight friend, so we decided to make his stuff less secret with an arts and crafts style label without any (of the) record company bullshit. The motivation was that he really wanted to help these musicians to get heard beyond his sets … people go mental on this stuff on the dance floor, but labels don’t want to know, so time to start a “record label”.

Kutmah is not just a DJ, he’s a curator, a digger, a creator, and a super nice guy who really only comes out to play and enlighten others. When he plays, who the hell knows what he is playing at any time, but when he does play a set just seems to meld together into some story about your life. You get touched, and that’s a rare thing in these days of super pop shit and pre-genrefied prejudice. It’s hard to explain but there are these often unreleased elements that he uses to tell stories with his performances; they can be sad, they can be motivating, they can be disturbing … to me they are simply mesmerising when knitted together in a mix. Kutmah has the ability to take music from any age and make it sound like it was supposed to be played right now.

I met Kutmah just over a year ago through my good friend Brandy Flower, who has championed Kutmah since he was a freaky kid. Brandy and the HIT+RUN Crew is the reason IZWID exists. He is the link that brings art and music back together.

IZWID’s first release was Esgar, hard out energetic Future Bass with dub overtones and a hypnotic bass space. The second release from Seven Davis Jr I’ll describe as Shroom Funk. It’s all over the place as much as the 1999-2012 time it was created in, but I have to say it’s one of the finest musical deliveries I’ve ever been part of; it’s house, it’s warped out funk, it’s offensive if you’re a puritan. It’s funny to me, I love it, so dirty, analog, and it reeks of sex.

The next instalment is from Peckham, some beautiful loose beats from a young talent sonically travelling under his grand-dad's name, Al Dobson Jr. He is IZWID-003 and I can’t wait to make this record. We have a busy schedule going into 2014 that was pre-planned a year ago. In saying that, you should not expect anything … we’ll just plonk it in front of you anyway”.

And here's a slice of warped out funk sex from Seven Davis Jr:


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