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Kutiman: Ready to rule

Kutiman’s Music Is Ruling My World announced that a new music sensation was knocking on our door. It was the sort of CD that reminded you of Lenny Kravitz, Jamiroqui and acid jazz of the early 90s. On steroids. Imagine that for a moment, if you can. Yeah, we’ve heard some pretty hot albums over the past 12 months or so, but what makes this one so special is that nearly every instrument in every song is played by Ophir ‘Kutiman’ Kutiel himself. Read ITM’s own review if you need any further convincing.

So what inspires this sort of genius? What gives someone so much talent that they’re bursting at the seams. Is it family? Is it location? Friends? Who better to ask than the man himself. “I guess it wasn’t really up to me,” he says. “I was kidnapped by music when I was about 6 years old. I love the experiment of a new instrument which makes me wanna play anything and everything. Once I got more serious, I just had to start making a living out of something.”

Kutiman hails from Israel, which at the moment has been in the news more for being war-torn hotbed of rough Middle Eastern politics, rather than a new creative force in world music. But there’s more to it than that, Kutiman claims. “I grew up in a small village called Zichron Ya’akuv, North of Israel. When I was 18 I moved to Tel Aviv searching for my way in the local music scene. It took me a couple of years but eventually I found it. I love it (Tel Aviv), especially in the summer time. There are lots of parties and shows and all kind of cultural events going on. There is also a beach which is great because it’s hot like hell. Tel Aviv has this beautiful mix between a European city and a third world city. I just love it.”

Whatever it is about Tel Aviv, it has definitely worked for Kutiman as he’s produced one of the richest sounding debut albums we’ve ehard in a long time. It’s reminiscent of so many different genres, from the energetic No Reason For You through to the chilled out ‘I Just Wanna Make Love To You’. “I guess the wide range of sounds in my album is a result of my exposure to many and different types of music which over a short period of time, blew my mind far away. It made me forget about genres and just play whatever comes into my mind.”

The album was recorded in a Tel Aviv apartment shared with his music partner DJ Sabbo, following what Kutiman regards, with a shudder, as a “long and hardcore” trip to Jamaica. “Jamaica was the first time that I was introduced to the great world of afro beat, funk and some classic 70s rock and soul. I got so much inspiration both from my trip to Jamaica as well as the new music I discovered… I had to get it out someway, so I locked myself in the studio surrounded by vintage keyboards and just let it flow without even dreaming about an album. Five very intense months later, the main structure of the album was ready and I called my good musicians friends, Karolina, Elran Dekel, Chaka Moon and others, to spread some of their magic and talent on it. Its a great feeling to release an album. It’s my first solo album and I’m amazed I got this opportunity to release it worldwide; from here it looks impossible sometimes.”

The process of getting an album out there is evolving as the social networking trends of the internet evolve even further and providing further opportunities to promote yourself as an artist. The grind of touring however, is always an essential part of the mix. “I recently had two shows in Paris with a local French band. These days I’m working with my ‘Kutiman Orchestra’ in Tel Aviv and I hope to tour as much as I can. I’m also working on a smaller sound system format with DJ Sabbo and Karolina for clubbier venues.”

So it’s all go for Kutiman. New album, remixes on the way, tours planned. Surely, its soon going to be Kutiman’s music that rules the world. Check it out, before it checks you out .

Music is Ruling My World is out now through Melting Pot/Creative Vibes, check out a promo clip below…