Chicago producer and multi-instrumentalist Cutta finds tranquility in a blur of rock subgenres on Physicalism | Music Review | Chicago Reader

Chicago producer and multi-instrumentalist Cutta finds tranquility in a blur of rock subgenres on Physicalism 

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Chris Crack

Paul Gulyas is one of those tireless contributors to Chicago music whose work largely goes unnoticed by the public. If you’ve gone to a show at Beat Kitchen or Subterranean in the past few years, you might’ve seen him behind the soundboard. He’s also a musician and producer, and he’s earned a modicum of fame in Chicago hip-hop under his stage name, Cutta—New Deal Crew dynamo Chris Crack regularly shouts him out in his songs. (I’ve lost count of the times Chris ad libs “Cutta what up?”—and not just because he puts out albums faster than I can keep up.) In his solo recordings, Gulyas usually blends hip-hop, R&B, and funk, but on his new EP, Physicalism, he goes full rock, blurring glam swagger, psych transcendence, and roots-rock rambunctiousness into tight, lean songs. Earlier this year, Gulyas and his partner were sidelined with COVID-19, and though they both recovered before the release of Physicalism in early July, he worked on the EP while still sick—he says he felt the need to create something when faced with his own mortality. Despite the emotional and physical obstacles he endured while making these songs, he infuses them with a generous sense of calm. At the top of the earthy “A Strange Flower,” Guylas drops from a strange falsetto into a slack near whisper, exuding a tranquility I can only hope to find.   v

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