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Album Review: Hudson Mohawke - 'Satin Panthers'

An EP of future pop and big-room beats

If having your name dropped across social networking platforms is any gauge of success, Ross Birchard’s doing just fine. Recently, Just Blaze, producer for Eminem and Jay-Z, tweeted in a spasm of evangelical fervour that he was nearly moved to tears by the young Scot’s production chops.

He’s late to the party. Hudson Mohawke’s debut ‘Butter’ dropped on Warp in 2009, prompting ears to adjust to his world of sprung hip-hop beats, alien time signatures and the kind of fractured, Day-Glo synths that felt as if they were sheared from another sonic plane altogether. It sparked rumours of hook-ups with everyone from Rihanna to Kele Okereke.

The ‘Satin Panthers’ EP is a more direct proposition, with any IDM flab cleaved away to make room for maximum big-room potential. And ‘Thunder Bay’ could take on the biggest, all plastic dancehall horns and pitch-shifted samples bolted to a stomping, stuttering chassis. Elsewhere, ‘All Your Love’ stimulates the nostalgia nerve centres by pairing a sped-up, defiantly sugary R&B sample with handfuls of house piano chords.

Pleasingly, the swampy, virulent strangeness that characterised ‘Butter’ is still present – ‘Thank You’ sees marching-band drum rolls and ricocheting G-funk synths explode into oily pools of colour. But it is ‘Cbat’ that really impresses here.

With bursts of martial snare and brass held together by a minimalist, bass-powered spine, it’s reminiscent of The Neptunes’ spare genius and feels like off-the-peg future pop. It also gives credence to the idea that, come album two, Hudson Mohawke could well be the guy to deliver us from the ersatz euphoria of David Guetta hell-pop – and that’s enough to make anyone weep with joy.

Louise Brailey

Order a copy of Hudson Mohawke's 'Satin Panthers' EP from Amazon

7 / 10
Hudson Mohawke - 'Joy Fantastic'
Video: Hudson Mohawke - 'Joy Fantastic'

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