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White Noise: Cuthead – Brother

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Cuthead – Brother

Label: Uncanny Valley



Seram Lembah

I hadn’t heard of German producer Cuthead, aka Robert Arnold, until this release, but with this great collection of five tracks ranging from House to Hip Hop he’s placed himself firmly on my radar. The Brother EP is an admirably varied collection, with a very consistent high quality throughout, and it’s all tied together by a lo-fi analogue sound with Cuthead combining vintage synths and a keen eye for beats to great effect again and again.
The EP divides fairly easily into three dance tracks and two Hip Hop pieces, but each tune is of a high enough standard to deserve repeated listens. First cut Vibratin’  is a low-key introduction to these dance numbers, with a spoken-word vocal intoning musico-cosmic jargon to pleasing effect. Musically the song layers fantastically textured percussive tracks over a deep analogue hum, and it’d be enough to make you fall in love even before the 303 adds some gorgeous acid flavours to the mix. Title track Brother is a heavier assault on the senses, with strong beats introducing a moody vocal line slowly phased into existence throughout the first minute and a half. Before you know it the track is in full glorious swing, with dreamy pads and a deep bassline lending the tune a distinctly funky touch. Towards the end a muted synthline spirals disconcertingly downward, dragging the song underwater before it comes back out grooving. It’s a great dance tune with a unique flavour to it, and the only real competition for its dancefloor prowess is third cut Transgressions. Here sharp finger clicks replace claps and a throaty bass bounce heralds the entrance of woozy pitchbent synths that lie dormant until midway through the track, all coming together in an immersive and moody dance piece.

After this point the Hip Hop inflections of the previous three tracks come fully to the fore, with Seram Lembah a full-on assault of instrumental Hip Hop; sharp beats and an enormous bassline that follows the beats at a slight remove, all overlain with a sublime East Asian vocal line. While this track is a little reminiscent of Onra (but better), final cut Heartless brings to mind the East Coast beat stylings of Teebs, with a Three Dog Night’s sample emoting over dreamy percussive textures and a feel-good bassline guaranteed to get your head bobbing. While perhaps a little unassuming at first, each of these five tunes is perfectly crafted and deeply atmospheric, showcasing a producer with not just a unique sound to call his own, but also a real ability to dramatically vary his style across a single EP.


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