There’s a lot of creativity on YouTube, and a lot of musical talent, too–but it’s often disjointed,or available only in flashes.
That’s not a problem for Israeli musician Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel), whose new album project, Thru You Too, assembles the wide range of amateur talent on YouTube in formations they never anticipated. The result is the project’s first release, “Give It Up,” which draws on musical samples from 23 different performances on YouTube. The video (also released via YouTube, naturally) takes various performances of various pieces, built around a long a cappella song by YouTube user “KarMaRedd” called “Give It Up,” and pairs it with a minor-key piano improvisation by six-year-old pianist Alma Deutscher to give the piece its bones. From there, the song is fleshed out by samples from various other videos to create a multitrack production. The drums come from a how-to-play instructional video, the sax comes from a student uploading a brief video of himself practicing, the guitar comes from a demonstration on playing scales, etc, etc.
The ultimate result here, though, is much less of a novelty than it seems like at first blush (though the way that Kutiman’s video cuts back to the original YouTube performances is definitely novel). What makes the track compelling is the fact that, if you’re not watching the video, it’s just a powerful, bluesy, soulful single–the sort that sample-based song producers have been compiling for years now. It’s just that now, the crates that artists can dig through to find the building blocks are more virtual and less dusty.