Mophono – Cut Form Crush

Mophono – Cut Form Crush
CB Records: 2011

The instrumental music scene has exploded in the last five years. There has been a sudden surge of new and exciting names filling the columns and blog space with all manner of futuristic sounds and glitches. The new school listener might be fooled into thinking that this glitch-hop genre simply sprang out of the minds of the new names arising, but flick back a few pages in the musical history books and you’ll quickly notice that some of these producers are simply re-creating older genres with a slightly new twist. The break-beat era was huge in the UK during the 90’s. Artists such as: Fatboy Slim, Propellerheads, The Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers and The Crystal Method all played very important roles in pushing the limits of instrumental music and then pushing it to the masses.

I’m a huge fan of musical progression and fusion and tirelessly seek out new names and genres to sink my teeth into. The most recent of my finds was the Cut Form Crush album by Mophono. Cut From Crush comes out under the CB Records umbrella. CB are renowned for putting out tasty musical morsels: The Gaslamp Killer & Gonjasufi collaborative effort: “When I’m in Awe”, The Gaslamp Killer produced, “My Troubled Mind” (August 2009). And the jazz filled, dub jam: “Crazy Dancing” by Daedelus are all personal favourites of mine and listed under CB’s releases. Mophono’s back catalogue is equally as impressive: “The Edge” 12 inch and “Halftone Society” 12-inch which dropped on Brooklyn’s Bastard Jazz Records. He is also credited as the co-producer on The Gaslamp Killer’s smash song “Carpool Dummy”.

Cut Form Crush was a funny one for me. On first listen I was slightly confused and bewildered. I felt that the album as a whole lacked direction and as a result, came across as manic and disorderly. It seems to have a heavy jazz like influence in the sense that often tracks will completely change direction or pace, sometimes sounding like two completely different songs. Initially I found this slightly irritating. But by the third listen it was like I could see the method in the madness. I was suddenly able to hear the the definite high points on this album. Mophono has a knack of showing genius in the simplicity and starkness of his production and arrangement. All of the drums featured on the release pound hard and clear giving you that ’90s hip hop head nod effect. The bass lines warble and roll effortlessly over the drums and melody, giving it that all important new school twist.

The album starts with “Be Human Part One”. Not my favourite track from the release by a long shot, but the action soon picks up rest assured. “Blade” the forth track in, sees Mophono finding his feet. Sporadic drums and synthesisers litter the track resulting in an epic sound. A similar thing could be said for the track: “Cut Form One”. Pretty off key drums and interesting sounds. Tracks like “Cut Form Crunch” featuring Flying Lotus and “Cut Form Control” are perfect examples of Mophono’s ability and talent when it comes to laying down heavy beats with a eerie mood. The fifth track in: “Cut Form Control” starts with a guitar driven psychedelic sounding backing track, matched with Stephen King vocals jabbering on about space travel and the future of the universe. It’s these slightly corny ideas that initially annoyed me about the album, but by the 1 minute mark the track transforms into a plain and simple banger. Thumping drums and bass kicks with a thundering bass line. Perfect! By the 3 minute mark Mophono slows down the tempo using the same sounds but to a slower beat. A welcomed surprise which gives new space for the producer to play with re-verb and all manner of glitches.

It’s also interesting to note the length of Mophono’s tracks on this album. Many are three or more minutes long, which is pretty unheard of these days in the instrumental world. Many of his glitch peers are pushing out beat tape style product, with 1:10 track lengths. I found it refreshing to listen to a full length track with changes and break downs, giving me enough time to form an opinion..without having to play again. All in all I liked the album. A solid release with interesting highs and lows. At some points it seemed happy not presenting anything new or particularly different to the listener. At other points it was completely off-the-wall and fresh. A balance that Mophono has always walked nicely.

★★★½☆
3.5 out of 5

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