What does Danny Kuttner sound like?
Alternative soul meets electronic ambient.
The review Danny Kuttner – Purple
Sometimes the moment is right to experience a different mash-up of genres you might not usually be open to. I had been listening to Kadhja Bonet just before I first heard Danny Kuttner. Where Bonet mixes soul with some psychedelic folk rock influences, Danny Kuttner mixes soul with ethereal electronica and psychedelic ambient. The two artists share some musical DNA and moods but Danny Kuttner has opened my ears and heart to how soulful electronic ambient can be.
On her debut EP ‘Purple’, she weaves a magical ethereal mix of layered vocals, relaxed beats, sumptuous electric piano and the lightest of woodwinds. The release opens with a reversed ambient whoosh of ‘Inception’ as if we’re returning in time to the 70s. The Tel Aviv based artist feels totally of that era for all the good reasons as ‘Come Play With Me’ entices you in. From the beautiful flute sections to the light bongos and layered syrup of vocals – this track is dreamy and pillowy. There is plenty of interesting motifs and nuances in the synth work and arrangements but it all glides towards a heavenly state of being. It makes a great transition to the more grounded, bass-driven track that follows. The jazzy raspy brass and unusual chords of ‘Chasing Myself’ lets the encircling chorus loop effortlessly roll off your tongue. It takes a lot to construct music to feel so chilled and musically interesting without making the listener think too much. It is a curious skill that Danny showcases perfectly here.
Not everything takes an alternative route. The direct simplicity and production restraint of ‘Limelight’ allows the track to be an immediate hit. The wah of the guitars, the thick but clean bass and the keyboards offer a clean funk that feels pointed and direct. Often this kind of music can use reverb to excess but Kuttner ensures her songs breathe. ‘Traveling’ has a summer breezy electro-acoustic guitar base with some Hawaiian overdubs and room to sway in the bridges. The track is beautifully uplifting as Danny sings about taking your mind elsewhere for a break.
The title track has one of the most interesting chorus deliveries I’ve heard in ages. Danny sings the word ‘Purple’ as a single note and initially, all the instrumentation stays with her too. Then it all slides slightly uncomfortably offkey to return back again. Danny sings as if the colour were a feeling and I suspect she thinks it’s a bit of a wobble and rebalance. ‘You’ is a gorgeous acoustic guitar and vocal ballad with extra bells and whistles hiding in the background. It is this style that brings me mostly back to the 70s psyche-folk era for Danny Kuttner and her soothing voice and vocal range make it a magical tour de force. Flipping things into a total 180 shift, the closing track ‘She’ is a synth-pop gem. A deep and heavy synth arpeggiator throbs with a bassline and kick drum as Danny keeps her vocals low and sultry to make the sensuality of the track.
Whilst I hear 70s psyche-folk and 90s Neo-soul clearly throughout the album, Danny Kuttner pulls in from other pop and electronica elements to ensure she sounds like no one else. Throw in some superb production that keeps every instrument crisp and Danny’s vocals clean alongside some daring chord progressions that make a song phrase stand out on edge and you have a fantastic debut. ‘Purple’ is an assured and striding debut and deserves a lot of attention. This is how you stand out from the crowd on your own terms. I also appreciate a well-placed rainstick and this album has plenty.
Recommended track: Come Play With Me
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