Thursday, October 1, 2009

REVIEW: Hudson Mohawke - Polyfolk Dance EP

So I figured it would only be relevant for me to post up the reviews I've written. Here's the first one I did for Big Up Magazine, in the Spring 2009 issue.



Warp presents a six-tracker from the 22-year old Scottish beatsmith Hudson Mohawke (AKA one half of Heralds of Change, alongside Mike Slott). Following up from the limited-release Ooops! EP on LuckyMe/Wireblock that sold out in a heartbeat, this mini-LP gives us a little taste of what the man’s capable of: taking post-hip-hop beat music to the next level.

The opening track, Polkadot Blues, happily bounces along like you’re riding through a subconscious nursery, where dancing robotic babydolls whisper sweet nothings in your ears, and meanwhile the pony that you’re riding on has only three legs. This makes the journey bumpy, and a little bit disturbing but mostly reassuringly pleasant. After all, it’s not like you’re in the real world or anything. You float into the second track, Monde, except now you’re on a rainbow carpet ride through space, and the conductor is a three-headed music box. You’re not sure why, but you’re satisfied and your head won’t stop bobbing from left to right.

HALT. One of those canes from those old cartoon shows yanks you by the neck and pulls you into a sub-atomic future rock-disco, AKA track three, Overnight. Center stage, a floating set of pink lips sings triumphantly, and a synthetic baby pig is singing his heart out in the loveliest way possible. This track is a pure dancefloor stalker, as in you don’t see it creeping up on you for the first five seconds, and that’s all it needs before it has you hooked by the jugular. And at 140 bpm, it’s friendly for a dubstep set.

Flip the record over to Speed Stick. You don’t even get a chance to catch your breath before some digi-instrument that hasn’t been invented yet invades your brain sockets, the drums are slapping you on your rosy cheeks, and three-eyed, mini-mouthed children are humming polyphonic chords into your facial area. However, they’re gone as soon as you’re starting to get used to it. Next track, Velvet Peel, the same children pull you by your pinkies onto a color-shifting radio flyer wagon that glides into Super Mario World and you feel strangely at home. The koopas aren’t even mad at you either. Then you go down a green super-pipe.

Final track, Yonard. It’s too dark to see. The babydolls are back! What are they yelling at you? Who cares… a kick-drum sludge monster that you can’t really make out rumbles across your peripheral vision but you’re too scared to move. The lights come on, and it’s not a monster! It’s just a gelatinous music-machine dripping with clicks and claps, babydolls, sirens, and mechanical nonsense. It grows larger, starts spinning uncontrollably, and then careens into a black hole. You wake up in a hot sweat and you’re sleeping upside down. Ooops!

Seriously next-level tunes from this young Glaswegian producer, with more greatness to come, surely. By the time you read this, the vinyl copies have probably sold out unless you’re looking on Discogs, you might still be able to grab a CD from Boomkat, but there’s always for all your digital music needs. And this is one you need.

-Alex Incyde



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