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 [a]Eminem[/a] and [a]Jay-Z[/a], 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. [a]Hudson Mohawke[/a]’s debut [b]‘Butter’[/b] 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 [a]Rihanna[/a] to [b]Kele Okereke[/b].
The [b]‘Satin Panthers’[/b] EP is a more direct proposition, with any IDM flab cleaved away to make room for maximum big-room potential. And [b]‘Thunder Bay’[/b] could take on the biggest, all plastic dancehall horns and pitch-shifted samples bolted to a stomping, stuttering chassis. Elsewhere, [b]‘All Your Love’[/b] 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 [b]‘Butter’[/b] is still present – [b]‘Thank You’[/b] sees marching-band drum rolls and ricocheting G-funk synths explode into oily pools of colour. But it is [b]‘Cbat’[/b] that really impresses here.
With bursts of martial snare and brass held together by a minimalist, bass-powered spine, it’s reminiscent of [a]The Neptunes[/a]’ spare genius and feels like off-the-peg future pop. It also gives credence to the idea that, come album two, [a]Hudson Mohawke[/a] could well be the guy to deliver us from the ersatz euphoria of [b]David Guetta[/b] hell-pop – and that’s enough to make anyone weep with joy.