The sound of pigeonhole-free ambition slowly being realised, and it’s sounding great.
Mike Diver 2011
Hudson Mohawke’s second EP for Warp, and his first new material for the esteemed electro label following 2009’s debut LP Butter, is a five-tracker that leaves the listener immediately keen for more. There was something about Butter that didn’t quite stick – it was a (suitably, perhaps) slippery set, which glided from glitch to gabber with all the stability of a fine china tea set perched precariously atop a dresser during an earthquake. Granted, that was part of its appeal, too; but it’s through this shorter-length format that the Scottish producer really shines.
Butter’s precursor was another EP, Polyfolk Dance – a collection that featured the still-superb alt-hip-hop instrumental Overnight, a beat so brilliant it could keep Kanye West up every night for a week, deconstructing how and why it works so well. Satin Panthers is just as punchy, its tracks flitting from haunted soul to echoes of early 90s rave (check out that Charly-like buzz at the end of Thunder Bay – an unexpected Prodigy flashback) via Diplo-like squelches and mutated house motifs. If his intention was to step away from the (debateable) sub-genre of aquacrunk, then the man born Ross Birchard back in 1986 has irrefutably succeeded.
There’s a triumphant feel to closer Thank You, something of a cut-and-paste fanfare which melts in and out of focus atop marching drums and fat bass drops. It argues: that was me then, and this is me now. But there’s not enough here for the listener to feel that HudMo has stepped fully free of his comfort zone to explore all-new sounds – many an element here has been present and correct since his EPs for the All City label back in 2007. Yet in the slick synths and crystal keys of All Your Love and the hypnotic sparkle of opener Octan there’s the suggestion that this man’s second LP will be some progression from Butter’s career-to-date condensing. This is the sound of pigeonhole-free ambition slowly being realised, and it’s sounding great.