Nearly two years since his deportation from the United States, DJ, artist and all-around good guy Kutmah has become an integral part of the fabric of the music scene in London and he cements this with a curatorial tour-de-force for Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood label in the shape of “Worldwide Family Vol. 2”.
Renowned for his eclectic taste and selection, Kutmah dug deep for the 21 tracks brought forward here, managing to strike a balance between established talents – Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, Tadd Mullinix, Doc Daneeka – and new bloods – Tehbis, Jonwayne, Shash’U, Sam IRL – without sacrificing quality. In fact the best moments come from the newer or more unknown talents. Being unmixed, the compilation acts as both an artistic document and a DJ goodie bag to dig into when you need some fire. The London / L.A axis is prominent throughout, with 10 tracks from California-based artists and five from London-based ones. Add to them artists from Russia, Germany, Montreal and Detroit, and you’ve got not only a pretty strong showcase of musical talent, but also of musical taste and the know-how to bring it all together in a logical manner.
While quite a few of the tracks on there have been previously released, the tracklisting and selection allows those tracks you may have already heard or which passed you by to make much more of an impact. Case in point: I actually had the Groundislava track in my collection for over a year, but it wasn’t until I heard it on the compilation that I realised just how amazing it was, with its lush, euphoric videogame melodies and low-slung swing. Without running down the entire tracklist, which would ruin the fun of finding it all out for yourself, there are plenty of highlights: Mo Kolours’ dubbed-out introductory jam, Seven Davis Jr’s hands-in-the-air boogie on “Thanks”, the neck-snapping boom slap of The Dark Horsemen (a.k.a. Jonwayne and Dibia$e) who join the past and future of hip hop in fine style, and the mind-bending electronic funk of Tadd Mullinix, whose “Exchanging Modes” is actually ten years old, showing just how ahead of his time the man is. And that’s only five of the twenty one tracks on there.
While anchored firmly in Kutmah’s love of hip hop, the compilation does offer a nicely varied selection of music, which should ensure there is something on there for everyone. The downside to that of course being that it might leave some feeling like it’s a bit hit-and-miss or that there just isn’t enough of the “good stuff”. The key is to actually immerse oneself in the compilation from beginning to end, regardless of preferences. Rather than dipping in to pick and mix, let yourself be guided by Kutmah’s selection to discover things you may not have thought you’d dig first time round – I found myself pleasantly surprised that way.
To top it all off, Kutmah also handled all the artwork on the compilation, alongside long-time collaborator Brandy Flower of Hit+Run. There is no doubt that Kutmah’s worldwide family runs deep, and on this selection for Brownswood he lets both his artistic and curatorial talents shine bright.