As 2013 draws to a close, and everybody is preparing their best of lists, and reminiscing about what they heard the most of this year, I’m gonna do the opposite, and review a MIXTAPE that is very different from anything I’ve posted on this blog before.
The first era of his productions was heavily influenced by the GRIME scene buzzing in the UK at the time. After being discovered by MAD DECENT label head, DIPLO, in 2008, this fairly inexperienced bedroom producer found himself embarking on two world tours, exposing his mind to all sorts of regional music from around the globe, which he, in turn, found himself fusing with his UK club sensibilities. Once these GLOBAL BASS influences were firmly in place, Mumdance pursued an even more varied working style, concentrating on a string of collaborations. It was a fruitful period of travelling and producing, but the strain of constant touring and studio sessions took its toll on him, and Mumdance made a wise decision to take a sabbatical from music for reinvention and soul searching. In mid-2013, after a long period of silence, Mumdance finally re-emerged.
TWISTS & TURNS
Representing the start of what he refers to as a ‘second wave of his career’, his recent sabbatical in the UK countryside has ultimately resulted in a new Mixtape, TWISTS & TURNS. Strong outside influences have been replaced with esoteric introspection – the new record being a personal reflection on the music of MUMDANCE’s youth, drawing on everything from 90s HARDCORE and JUNGLE, to SHOEGAZE classics, while still containing numerous nods to his GRIME roots.
The ideals of this album are reflected with the launch of his new live show; 100% hardware based, but stripped down to the bare minimum of a 909 drum machine, a hardware sampler, two decks and a mixer. The idea being to keep things as raw as possible, concentrating on the sound, vibe and dance floor, rather than relying on light shows or gimmicks. As the sound moves between genres from minute to minute, Mumdance’s personality and ideals truly shine through, loudly apparent in the music. He always likes to keep things moving and not rest in one place for too long. His commitment to ‘bringing different sounds and cultures together’ is an ethos which runs at the very core of everything he turns his hand to, whether intentionally or not. You never know what you are going to hear next. This Mixtape is a true testament to that aesthetic.CLICK HERE FOR FREE DOWNLOAD
01. Mumdance – Demographics
02. Mumdance – Doom
03. Mumdance & Logos – Turrican 2
04. Mumdance & Logos – Move Your Body
05. Mumdance & Logos – Legion
06. Mumdance – Dragon Egg
07. Mumdance & Mao – Truth
08. Mumdance – Amiga 500
09. Mumdance – Its Peak
10. Mumdance & Logos – Drum Boss
11. Mumdance & Logos – In Reverse
12. Mumdance – Springtime
13. Mumdance – The Wash
HIGH POINTS: What most astonished me about this mix is Mumdance’s abilities, as a DJ, to make all of these tracks flow together seamlessly, especially considering the heavy contrast in style and vibe from one song to the next. Every few minutes sounds so different from the last few, and yet I couldn’t tell you where one songs ends and another begins. The album moves in twists and turns, as the title would suggest, instead of leaps and bounds. The flow is never broken. There’s not much traditional beat matching here. Instead, Mumdance has thought outside of the conventional norms, as is the overall concept for this entire piece, and explored ways to blend audio elements that would normally be seen as in opposition to eachother. By doing so, he has, perhaps, succeeded in accomplishing the most artistically challenging task of a DJ. This task is thanklessly hidden in the shadow of the quality of his work, as a producer, which I suppose it ultimately should be. As someone who studies and exposes the art of DJing, I thought it necessary to bring this hidden element of the album to light.
LOW POINTS: After listening to this tape multiple times, I noted that I found myself consistently losing interest around the 32 minute mark, during the song titled ITS PEAK. You could simply chalk it up to a matter of personal taste, but perhaps, after so much has happened leading up to it, the track, which is overtly minimal, is a bit too much of an emotional lull for this point in the mix. My loss of attention is only momentary, as it is soon snapped back into place by the compelling heaviness of DRUM BOSS, and from this point, I find myself hooked in ’til the end. Perhaps Its Peak would have played out better elsewhere in the mix, or, dare I say it, should have been omitted all together. The most difficult decision, when compiling any collection can often be which pieces to leave out. Then again, maybe it IS just a personal taste thing.
What a wonderfully conceptual ride this album is. It certainly does serve as a powerful launch for the second wave of Mumdance.
I wish I could produce this minimal. I really do.