Kutmah’s ‘Masha Beat Tape’ is the Portrait of a Musical Inventor

Evan Nabavian takes a look at Kutmah's new record, 'Masha Beat Tape.'
By    January 16, 2018

Evan Nabavian prefers De Niro with a mustache.

Kutmah’s Masha Beat Tape doesn’t beg for attention. It has few flashes and bangs and it lacks an obvious theme or gimmick. The name and cover reference Sandra Bernhard’s character from 1982’s The King of Comedy. I don’t get it and I’m not sure I’m supposed to. If there’s a theme, maybe it’s invention. But not the part with the eureka moment that history remembers. Rather, these beats sound like the hours shacked up experimenting, the random tangents and unfinished thoughts that yield impractical but interesting results.

Kutmah is more interested in textures and vibes than melodies and bombastic sounds. “Life Cont…Pt3” prominently features an arhythmic rasping sound. “O.D.K. Theme” hums like antique electronics. A few tracks seem to loop a few absent-minded jazz notes. At one point, Kutmah grabs the sample behind “Mask Off,” but he pays little attention to the flute melody at its center that became one of last year’s biggest songs, opting to cover it with chirping birds. This tape is idle, nonchalant, dreamlike…Mostly.

There are spectacular exceptions: “Great Day Beat” is an android tango; “Meatgrinder Beat” is a bad trip through a futuristic dungeon; “Still Getting High” is high on a biblical strain; “National Geographic” is a safari on an exoplanet. Otherwise, Kutmah’s beats just amble along, perfectly content.