Some fans who’ve seen him with stand-alone singles on the likes of Delta9, Eatbrain, Blackout and, of course, Hoofbeats, may not know that neurofunk/dancefloor hybrid stan Kutlo has been producting for nearly a decade. Releasing more liquid and deep bass-style tracks beginning in 2013, Kutlo cut his teeth on playing with synths and sound design and was a local Slovak and Czech favorite until Let It Roll featured his deep bass scrambler of a track called “Void” with Italian producer Goh on their first compilation album in 2017. Once he was alongside the likes of Ivy Lab, A.M.C, Current Value and about 20 other huge names, Kutlo’s name grew itself quite rapidly.
As his last EP, Memento on Kosen Productions out of Toulouse, was over five years ago, it’s safe to say Kutlo was due for another multi-track. He hooked up with Hoofbeats in his neighboring Czechia in 2020 and it’s clear that the Variations EP has been in the works for quite a while, given that the first teaser track, “Porcelain” featuring the unique vocals of Anna Vaverková, came out last September. A brassy, horn-filled dancefloor track, “Porcelain” sounds unlike anything Kutlo’s done before.
Now with two other teases, the neuro-laced and, well, static-y “Static” and the very deep and melodic “Distance” featuring Timea, which unexpectedly drops into halftime, we know why the EP’s called Variations. It seems Kutlo wanted every “variation” of his style possible here, and he just about pulled it off. Thumbing his nose at subgenres, Kutlo marches through deep bass in opening track “One More Time,” pure synth in the intro “Nocturno,” the afore-mentioned dancefloor, neuro and slightly sped up halftime (2/3 time?), sine wave sound design and finally liquid and jump up in “Closure,” which is the closer and thus another apt title for the highly varied Variations.
Our YEDM premiere today is “Fragments,” which, in the journey Kutlo wanted to take with Variations, seems to be where everything, all these styles and musical substances, come together before “Distance” and “Closure.” With a modern, minimal beat flawless sound design, amen break prhase transitions and some really wavy vintage synthwave synths full of sine waves and switchbacks, “Fragments” is hardly fragmented. It might be the most compositionally cohesive track on the EP, in fact, and seems to encompass all of what Kutlo loves about D&B in one 3:31 piece.
Although there are loads of styles and subgenres in Variations and, in fact, in each of its tracks, through the journey of the EP, what’s most noticeable is Kutlo’s own style and vibe. Whether he means to or not, Kutlo proves a point with Variations: no matter what you want to label their music, we’re all really here for the artist. As varied as Variations is, its core is pure Kutlo.
Variations drops on Hoofbeats this Friday, August 19. pre-save or pre-order here.