, - on 20/10/09
Musical styles these days have been slowly undergoing a shift from being classified as individual genres to blurring the lines. What was once easy to categorise has now been merged into multiple forms. Take dupstep for example. With roots stemming from UK garage, it also incorporates elements of reggae, hip hop, drum n bass and grime (itself a sub genre of styles).
With the advent of the internet and production software such as Ableton or Traktor, every Tom, Dick and Harry has the ability to produce their own tracks. So it’s no surprise that with the saturation of the same types of sounds that the next step would be evolving those same sounds into something more original. Enter 23 year old Glaswegian Ross Birchard, better known to audiences as Hudson Mohawke, whose numerous influences have seen him become one of the most talked about artists in electronic music circles.
A UK DMC finalist at the age of 15 (as DJ Itchy), Birchard switched monikers after seeing the name engraved on a statue in the hall of his old place. After a string of unofficial internet releases, and several tracks on numerous compilation EP’s, he released his first solo EP Polyfolk Dance in early 2009, to critical acclaim. With all the hype surrounding him, his highly anticipated debut, Butter, has finally been unleashed.
Kicking off with Shower Melody, Mohawke sounds like he’s created the opening to an 80’s movie soundtrack, (complete with electric guitar solo), before launching into the dupstep stylings of Gluetooth, with computer game sounding beeps and bleeps. Joy Fantastic features Olivier Daysoul on vocals, and is a smooth and funky electronic r’n’b crossover, reminiscent of OutKast or Plant Life and is one of the best tracks on the album. Fruit Touch has an array of intermittent electronic sounds laced over an askew drum beat, while Zoo00OOm takes varying computer game beeps and marries them over a subtle dark bassline. Rising 5 is a cacophony of sampled sounds layered over the top of each other, from electro synths to the light piano tinkling to the steady drum beat, it’s an excursion through an aural sonic soundscape. Olivier Daysoul pops up again on the 80’s sounding Just Decided, while Stones Throw alumni Dãm-Funk lends his vocals to the velvety r’n’b of Tell Me What You Want From Me. FUSE employs an almost flute like sounding synth that weaves in and out of a mid-tempo beat, and Nadsroic lends her angelic sounding vocals to the chopped up Allhot.
Butter isn’t without its faults. 3.30 sounds like a mish mash of everything with chipmunk snippets thrown in, while Black N Red starts out light and airy but ends up sounding like a repetitive looped score to an anime action sequence. Having said that, playing those tracks on their own would detract from the experience of listening to Butter as a whole, where they actually seem to fit.
Seemingly distancing himself from being pigeonholed into the aquacrunk sound he is known for, Mohawke has instead showcased his pop sensibility coupled with electronic production know-how, in the process almost creating an entirely new genre that defies classification. He has tried to create an album of orchestrated sounds rather than a genre album, similar to Flying Lotus, resulting in an interesting acid trip that stretches the boundaries of his creative license. One of the most refreshing and exciting releases of the year: start spreading some of HudMo’s delicious sounding Butter.
1. Shower Melody
3. Joy Fantastic Feat. Oliver Daysoul
6. Fruit Touch
8. Acoustic Lady
9. Rising 5
10. Twistclip Loop
11. Just Decided Feat. Oliver Daysoul
12. No One Could Ever
13. Velvet Peel
14. Tell Me What You Want From Me Feat. Dam Funk
16. Star Crackout
17. Allhot Feat Dam Funk
18. Black N Red
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