Left-field DJ/producer Kutmah worked with broken beats, wobbly time signatures, and spaced-out samples when making his own brand of instrumental hip-hop.
Albums like 2017's TROBBB! called on both the sunny warmth of West Coast hip-hop production and the outer reaches of intergalactic synth sounds.
Kutmah was born Justin McNulty in Brighton, England, but at the age of 12, he moved with his Egyptian mother and Scottish father to Hollywood, California. In the early 2000s, he became part of the Los Angeles-based non-profit Web radio collective Dublab. His abstract productions were first issued in 2006 via the Japanese compilation The Sound of L.A., compiled by Dublab's Carlos Niño, and a nine-track 10" EP released on Poo-Bah. In May 2010, U.S. Federal agents unexpectedly removed him from his home due to complications with his immigrant status; he ended up serving two months in a detention center. While incarcerated, he made 39 drawings that, after his release and deportation to the U.K., were collected as Two Soups & a Honeybun and showcased at a number of exhibits. Kutmah issued a series of limited mix CDs titled The New Error in 2011, and in 2012 he compiled the second volume of the Brownswood label's Worldwide Family series. The disc featured vintage and contemporary recordings from Tadd Mullinix, Dakim, Dibiase, Flying Lotus, Hudson Mohawke, and Kutmah himself. In an effort to re-establish himself on U.K. soil, Kutmah sunk deeper into his music production, resulting in a number of beat tapes, such as the Black Waves Tape series. He also transferred his L.A. club night, Sketchbook, over to a monthly radio show hosted by NTS. In 2015 he released his third full-length record, BLK/SMR, on Hit & Run Records. He continued to sporadically play shows over the next two years, remaining ever mysterious in the process. His fourth full-length album, 2017's TROBBB!, saw release through Ninja Tune's sister label Big Dada. Three years later, Kutmah resurfaced with the nine-song EP New Appliance, released as a 10" vinyl record by the All City label in March of 2020. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi