Tony Martinez from Barcelona is a graphic artist and musician who goes by the name Kamutao for his professional output. Two Suns Can’t Shine Together, a sprawling, thirty-four-track behemoth of an album, was released under the name-your-price model on bandcamp in April 2012, but according to the artist, was never meant to be released. In fact, the tunes were recorded way way back in good ol’ 2010, and Tony decided to compile the music as “part of a packaging project for [his] arts school.” There. I think that’s all the background you need. Here’s what I have to say about it.
Like, especially, DJ Shadow and Guillermo Scott Herren before him – as well as tricksters like DJ Wally, Peanut Butter Wolf, and RJD2 – Kamutao is a true crate-digger, mining extinct records and films for samples that he then mixes together to create far-out new soundscapes. He focuses on old soul, gospel, flamenco, folk, and rock recordings, and purposefully concocts scenes, placing listeners anywhere from tropical islands to grimy nightclubs to exotic savannas to Far Eastern mountains. The deftly woven and presented source material truly shines when carefully mixed with beats.
Here’s where it gets tricky though. No matter how sublime the locale into which you’re immersed, it’s over as soon as it starts, and the quick transitions begin to feel disjointed only after a short while. See, only two (!) of the thirty-four tracks break the two-minute mark, and most last between 0:35 and 1:30. This is fine when the transitions are neat – the first five or six tracks flow flawlessly, from the exotic “Flamingos” to the tranquil “Minguz Piensa Por El,” then on to the dusky and most DJ Wally–esque “Known Unknown,” the loungey and foul-mouthed title track, and finally onomatopoeic soul tune “Mmhmuhm.” These songs are meant to go together. They make sense.
For general consumption, thirty-four tracks is a mishmosh. We can forgive Kamutao, though. When taken with the knowledge that this album was never meant for release, and that it’s part of a school project, the quibbles become much less important, and you can begin to see the strengths of what Two Suns essentially is: a curriculum vitae for future production work. Short snippets of Kamutao’s skills, placed in the right inbox (of someone who likely has a short attention span), may lead to doors opening for more prominent studio work. As I listen closely to the tracks, I’m begging for them to be more fleshed out. I want more of “Bamboo Punk,” more of “C-Heatz,” more of “Your Neck Vs. My Knife” and “Oida Ist Es Hoaß,” none of which last longer than 1:06. These are fantastic starting points – imagine them in the hands of skilled rappers and you’re talking hit singles (as much as those exist anymore, but you know what I mean).
But even with these caveats, there’s real skill on display here. Besides the opening suite, Kamuato’s patched together an excellent collage with “La Kelly,” a set of sound bites detailing the disconnected conversation between a man and woman that finds them both increasingly frustrated. It’s fascinating, as is album closer “And the Moon Comes In…,” a pretty, piano-led comedown with child and parent samples, culminating in crickets chirping and a music box playing. Nothing more is needed for them. Still, I would love to see what Kamutao could do with a greater palette, as well as access to rappers. The groundwork is certainly laid here – let’s see what happens.
RIYL: DJ Shadow, DJ Wally, Guillermo Scott Herren
The Planet Of Storms with “Minguz Piensa Por El” by Kamutao