♫♪  Jitwam - ज़ितम सिहँ

Nothing cures a predictable spell of existential dread like an old-fashioned beat tape. I’ve adhered to this practice since time immemorial. Somewhere in the pot of jazz-inflected soul, crunchy drum samples and generous layers of white noise lies a certain nirvana; a balanced, healthy breakfast that simply cannot go wrong. Stones Throw-approved beatmaster Jitwam has the goods this week with a transportive, border-hopping delight, the self-referential and autobiographical ज़ितम सिहँ, out now on Cosmic Compositions. With an East Asian and Oceanic upbringing, and stints from London to Brooklyn, Jitwam’s worldly dispositions are no surprise. There’s something wonderful about having to decide whether those synth stabs that usher in “somethingtochewon” are left-leaning, or just nostalgic for Bollywood soundtracks – ultimately, they’re somewhere in between. As choice beats sway back and forth, we navigate Jitwam’s overgrown, urbanized soundscapes of fuzzy psychedelia and warm overtones.

There’s plenty that keeps Jitwam from comfortably settling into the overdone pastiche of smokey beatmaking, though. His Gonjasufi-esque vocals grow like cobwebs atop bongos, violins and sirens, giving way to abrupt saxophone solos on “I ain’t scared of no devil.” On cuts like “trinkets” and “goodlord,” he eschews percussion altogether to keep things extra steamy. Strangely enough, the sparse, dreamy second-half of this record tends to pack more heat than the percussion-heavy first half, mainly because it gives these swirling, historied melodies some room to flaunt their weight. By expanding crate-digging to memory-mining, Jitwams dense atmospheres are perpetually fresh, where actual words mean less than the memories evoked upon patient listening.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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