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Cosmic Compositions Present: Jitwam – ‘Jitwam’

With Cosmic Compositions, there has always been a similarity between the avant-garde/free jazz scene of the 50s/60s and the modern beat generation. Both movements aimed to deconstruct, expand and rewire the conventions of their genres of origin, and were never afraid to experiment or work outside the commercial framework of the time. With our Avant Garde Series, we connected the dots between the two, paying homage to Empire State Musicians like Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, and Sun-Ra along the way.

Born in Assam, Gauhati, in Northeast India, but currently based in New York’s storied borough of Brooklyn, jitwam spent his formative years in New Zealand and Australia, before living in monasteries in Thailand, orphanages in South Africa, and washed out apartments in London. Of everywhere and nowhere, his music draws influence from a litany of iconoclasts including, but not limited to RD Burman, Moondog, The Velvet Underground, Yayoi Kusama, Jay Electronica, Jay Dilla, Moodymann, Leon Thomas, Madlib and Asha Bhosle.

Across the album he utilises knowledge acquired through years spent digging through dusty crates, and talents honed as a multi-instrumentalist, producer, and vocalist. A series of stumbling, jazz/soul-rooted beat sculptures, each buried beneath a haze of fuzzy psychedelia, broken microphone blues, and articulated through a freestyled process he describes as “first thought, best thought”, ज़ितम सिहँ solidifies jitwam’s spot as a major emerging talent.

Recalling the fourth world dreamscapes explored by oddball songwriters like Connan Mockasin, Clarence Clarity, Jai Paul, Silicon, and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, it represents a time of transition and remembrance for jitwam, while still fulfilling the core qualities he looks for in song. In his words, “Music is a refuge. A shelter from the storm. A place you can go to close your eyes.”

Since he first shared his music with IZWID Records boss Kutmah at a Brainfeeder afterparty in London, jitwam has released through Leaving Records, Cosmic Compositions, and The Jazz Diaries (the label he co-runs with Casey Van Reyk and Nigel Mphisa). He’s also written with Inkswel (BBE) and Paul White (R&S), featured on Moodymann’s K7! DJ Kicks compilation and been championed by Gilles Peterson, Alexander Nut, Andrew Jervis (Bandcamp), and Funkineven. Mixed and mastered by Matthew David at Stones Throw studios