Hudson Mohawke – Butter
Review by Jules Hallam.
It’s early on an overcast Saturday morning. I’m sitting on a train flicking through my well-worn cassette player when I find Glaswegian producer Hudson Mohawke‘s debut album Butter. Out on Warp on 26th October and a follow-up to the brilliant PolyFolk Dance EP, it must be one of the most anticipated records of 2009. So let’s not dilly-dally.
If you’ve heard the Butter Snips you’ll know there’s nothing coherent about this release from Hudson Mohawke. With a new logo that appears to have been cast from PVC in the 80s, the album cover literally depicts an apocalypse created by mystical creatures with defined hair styles. You can say the same about the tracks.
A markedly different approach from his previous releases, a real sense of urgency becomes apparent just a few tracks in. The drum beats come thick and hard with an array of hopelessly opulent samples that have clearly been forced through an overabundance of electronics with a big stick. The synths are no less in-yer-face either; one can imagine HudMo arranging a track and then hitting it with a hammer to ring out every last blip and clap. The whole album could easily be a soundtrack to an anime fight sequence, which leaves me feeling slightly overwhelmed afterwards.
And I love it. From the ripping (maybe) guitar solo during Shower Melody I’m instantly hooked. Gluetooth doesn’t hesitate to shout in your ear and tell you what Butter’s all about. I can’t get enough of Rising 5, the featured pre-release track, which encapsulates his sound as much as Overnight did earlier this year. FUSE is another highlight, but this is certainly one of those albums where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s almost comical how outlandish this album is, with no instances of hesitation to launch into a frenzy of electronics and adrenaline-fuelled beats. It would now be typical to make references to a plethora of artists describing where HudMo drew influence from, but I’m half-way through the insane closing track Black n Red and have a real sense that he’s just out there doing his own thing.
Best album of 2009? Without doubt.
I don’t think I could have been more excited about this years’ Nail The Cross if I tried. So, naturally I spill my drink all over the door-girl when I arrive. Scanning the running order: Sbtrkt 21:30, Joy Orbison 22:45, Ikonika 00:15, Hudson Mohawke 00:45, Kode9 01:30. Let’s hit it.
Sbtrkt was the real surprise of the evening. After adorning a voodoo mask he proceeded to blast out a sublime mix of minimal and grimy dubstep that left me properly up for more. Joy Orbison was also stellar, going for a tribal feel that got the room bouncing hard – expect an EP coming up on Hotflush Recordings and a Four Tet remix in the pipeline too. Quoting my tweets from the night, “Over two hours of fucking great dubstep, topped off with Hyph Mngo. That track’s the next Get Familiar.” No time left to saunter, off to the Amersham for the man of the hour.
Nonchalantly bustling around the stage with his Mac, some seemed confused about what to expect from the young HudMo. But from the first track’s beat, he tore up the room, spinning a live set predominantly constructed from the aforementioned release. The crowd were really going for it; his beats are almost primeval live with a hard-hitting bassline that fuelled what appeared to be almost a pit at one point. I just about depicted; Overnight, Ooops!, FUSE and 3:30 in amongst the electronic fury, I think.
A UK DMC finalist at 15, I have a feeling that there’s plenty more to come from this chap.