Mashup Artist “Kutiman” Travels to Tokyo and Creates an Incredible Musical Postcard

Israeli musi­cian and video artist Ophir Kutiel, aka Kuti­man, gained notice culling and remix­ing unre­lat­ed per­form­ers’ Youtube videos for his extreme­ly col­lab­o­ra­tive-feel­ing Thru You project.

With 2011’s Thru Jerusalem, the urge to con­nect fel­low musi­cians went live, as he left his com­put­er to film local instru­men­tal­ists per­form­ing tunes of their choice in var­i­ous city set­tings. Back in Tel Aviv, he edit­ed the results into one of his sig­na­ture mashups, not to men­tion a vir­tu­oso musi­cal trav­el­ogue.

Now he’s trav­eled even fur­ther afield to Tokyo, cap­tur­ing forms both tra­di­tion­al and ultra-mod­ern, for the first in a new series of orig­i­nal shorts from PBS Dig­i­tal Stu­dios.

Mayuko Kobayashi plucks serene­ly at the strings of a koto. Turntab­list KEIZOma­chine!, half of the break­beat duo Hifana, scratch­es in his stu­dio. The diminu­tive Ishii Chizu­ru pounds a taiko drum. Inven­tor May­wa Den­ki (aka Novu­michi Tosa) demon­strates his adorable Ota­ma-Tone. (Cur­rent­ly marked down in the Muse­um of Mod­ern Art’s gift shop, for those look­ing ahead to their hol­i­day shop­ping lists.)

The desire to inte­grate the ancient and the new is best embod­ied by kimono-clad Mako­to Takei, who clos­es his eyes on a high-rise bal­cony as he plays a shakuhachi flute, the ver­ti­cal city serv­ing as back­drop.

Add a pink haired Hara­juku girl, a string of red lanterns, innu­mer­able cell phones, some pixel­lat­ed video game char­ac­ters, an aged tem­ple or two, and sev­er­al teem­ing inter­sec­tions, then blend at top speed!

The prod­uct may be a bit ear­split­ting at times, but that in itself is fit­ting giv­en the loca­tion. Thru Tokyo is a mar­velous audio-visu­al post­card from 21st-cen­tu­ry Edo, Japan.

Relat­ed Kuti­man Videos:

Kuti­man Mash­es Led Zep’s Black Dog: 80 Clips Stitched into One

The Moth­er of All Funk Chords

The Sounds of Jerusalem

Ayun Hal­l­i­day feels the trav­el bug bit­ing yet again. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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