Last month, we launched a new podcast series called Influences with a journey into early easy listening material from Rod Modell (a.k.a. DeepChord). The series—for those that didn't catch the first edition—will focus on an artist's musical upbringing, unearthing and showcasing the music that has inspired them to produce what they do today.
For Influences 02, we invite jitwam, a Brooklyn-based musician with deep roots across the globe and a musical style that touches on free-jazz, soul, funk, and more beat-driven pastures—think Jay Electronica, J Dilla, Moodymann, and Madlib.
jitwam's life story is as diverse as the music he makes: although born in Assam, Gauhati, in Northeast India, he spent his formative years in Australia and New Zealand, before embarking on a period that would see him living in monasteries in Thailand and orphanages in South Africa. A stint in London followed—this is where he first shared his music with IZWID Records boss Kutmah at a Brainfeeder afterparty—before settling in his current base in Brooklyn.
After a life spent scouring the earth for inspiration, jitwam subtly released his debut EP, TJD001, via The Jazz Diaries—the label he co-runs with Casey Van Reyk and Nigel Mphisa—in 2013. That EP, with its warped, enticing funk and soul, laid bare jitwam's sonic signature and caught the ear of tastemakers such as Gilles Peterson, Alexander Nut, Bandcamp's Andrew Jervis, and Moodyman, who featured the EP's closing track, "keepyourbusinesstoyourself," on his DJ Kicks compilation—XLR8R also featured a cut from the EP in our downloads section. In the years following, jitwam featured as a guest vocalist on Paul White's Shaker Notes album on R&S, before releasing his sophomore solo outing, TJD006, on The Jazz Diaries in July of this year.
Today, jitwam's debut album, ज़ितम सिहँ, drops on Cosmic Compositions. It's a beautifully sprawling LP that stylishly weaves through crackling psychedelia, oddball blues, and swinging beat outings. To celebrate the release, jitwam offered to dig through his collection for Influences 02, sharing a glimpse into the music that forms the backbone of his enigmatic persona.
This is what he had to say:
We are all inspired beings. And everything is inspiration.
Both the good and the bad...from Limp Bizkit to Alice Coltrane, Michael Jordan to Yayoi Kusama, Juju to French Chanson, there is no choice in what inspires you. There is only choice in being open to inspiration.
I couldn't fit everything in the space of 60 minutes, so big shoutouts to those that didn't make it on this mix: Arthur Russel, Leon Thomas, Chet Baker, Julie London, Parris Mitchell, DJ Rashad, Traxman, RP Boo, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Laraaji, RD Burman, Lata Mangeshkar, The Velvet Underground, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Shake, Rabindranath Tagore, Moondog, Edu Lobo, Caeteno Veloso, Pharaoh Sanders, Panda Bear, D'angelo, Erykah, Karriem Riggins, Actress, Aphex Twin, Dr. Dre, Snoop, Warren G, Henry Wu, Ahkatari, Only Rays... the list goes on. —jitwam
01. KDJ "Three Chairs Theme"
02. Metro Area "Pina"
03. Tall Black Guy "???"
04. Madlib "Track 23"
05. Outkast "So Fresh, So Clean"
06. Shuggie Otis "tune of the first album"
07. Jaco Pastorious "River People"
08. Billy Cobham and George Duke "Almustafa"
09. Can "I'm So Green"
11. Origin "Music Man"
12. Rahzel "If Your Mother Only Knew"
13. Amp Fiddler "Eye to Eye" (JustAnothaN**** mix)
14. Recloose "I Ain't Changin'"
15. Daft Punk "Teachers"
16. Beck "Cellphone's Dead" (Villalobos remix)
17. Blaqstar "Shake It To The Ground" (feat. Rye Rye)
18. Jay Dee "Fuck the Police"
19. Flying Lotus "Coleman's Groove"
20. Asha Bhosle "O Babuaa Yeh Mahua"
21. Mr Oizo feat. DJ Feadz "Analog Worms Attack"
22. Pink Floyd "On the Run"
23. Just Blaze "Moleskin Beat"
24. Theo Parrish "Rain for Jimmy"
25. Samiyam "???"
26. Knx. "Ashoka"
27. Recloose "Keep On Movin'" (Isolee mix)
28. Maurice Fulton & MU "Paris Hilton"
29. Death Grips "Guillotine"
30. DJ Roc "Ima Dog"
31. James Pants "We're Through"
32. Angelo & Eighteen "Flight 2"
33. Build An Ark "Build An Ark"