Kutiman's Thru-you is the latest Youtube sensation, mixing clips from the video-sharing website to make an extremely funky brand of music which is hard to stop listening to.

The best of his seven songs by far is "The Mother of All Funk Chords", which is similar to Maceo Parker's brand of soul and funk. In its intro, Kutiman gives us an insight into his method.

By using different video of users playing instruments on YouTube, and stacking and looping them, he creates music in its own right.

The songs could best be described as a mix of funky-jazz and drum 'n bass, the genre which most easily lends itself to the looping nature of Kutiman's work.

The videos also offer an insight into many home-musicians lives. The beauty of the project is that the samples come from people just playing on camera for their own amusement, or teaching lessons online - never from well-known artists, making the end product, 'his' songs, truly original.

Reminiscent of Sleepthief and Portishead

The soulful lyrics on "Someday", for example, are sung by a woman sitting with a baby on her lap, and the aptly named "Babylon Band" features instruments and players from all over the world.

The last two songs, "Wait for Me" and "Just a Lady" are heavy on the synthesizer and have wide-ranging soundscapes, recalling artists like Sleepthief and Portishead.

The songs get less catchy as you move down the list - the intent seems to be to relax rather than to get people moving.

Again, this is all the more amazing because it is completely original, a collage of individual instruments played by individual people who have probably never met each other in real life, meshed together by someone with an extremely sharp musical ear.

The last video on the website is a smiling Kutiman speaking to the camera and thanking the artists for “contributing” to his music.

"I collected all kinds of different people playing different instruments… and I put them together, created new songs, new music," he says rather cheekily, and with a non-English-speaking accent.

The 1st movement... more to come?

His Wikipedia entry names him as Ophir Kutiel, an Israeli musician and composer, with a number of vinyls and a CD to his name.

Still according to Wikipedia, his Thru-you website was initially just given to 20 friends, but soon it spread to over one million views. This is by far "his" most widely-known work yet, ironic considering he only, technically, did the mixing.

"It was really amazing to see how often movies matched together without me even touching it," he says.

In the background, one can spot a pair of bongos but no other instruments. Then the camera turns and an extensive computer system is seen, with a cat frolicking on the keyboards.

Kutiman has so far not been available for comment, but the words "This is the 1st movement" underneath his website logo suggest that he is working at it again.

We can only hope he produces more songs as thrilling and innovative as the first two tracks.

So if you're a budding player of any instrument, no matter how small or trivial the piece you can play, get uploading to YouTube.

Kutiman needs you.

photo by Andrew Otto
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Thru-YOU: the new take on sampling

By: Alberto Furlan