Mura Masa is more like Calvin Harris than he’d prefer to admit. Speaking to NME earlier this summer, the 21-year-old producer – real name Alex Crossan – refuted the idea that he’s poised to usurp Harris as one of dance’s big cheeses. “I guess from the outside looking in, it does look like that, but not really,” he said.
But the comparison fits. Both were self-starters who spent their youth crafting hyped tracks in their bedroom. Both are now able to attract big name guest spots at the drop of a beat. And both are pitching their records to soundtrack summer 2017. But whereas Harris’s new album ‘Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1’ is an intentional throwback, Mura Masa’s debut record is as forward-facing and futuristic as they come.
To state his case, Crossan has roped in A$AP Rocky, Desiigner, Christine And The Queens and Damon Albarn, to name a few, to guest on the 13-track odyssey through disco, funk and house. With a cast list like that, it’s hard not to make a set of club-tinged hits, but he shines brightest when turning his hand to pop, like on ‘1 Night’, the Charli XCX-featuring steel-drum banger; or the Disclosure-like ‘Firefly’, which spins gold from fellow newcomer Nao’s soulful vocals. The record never diverts from a tried-and-tested formula, but Crossan brings a modern touch via nifty production tricks and songwriting knacks.
Despite the star cast, his first work never relies too heavily on guest acts. Opener ‘Messy Love’ is a vibrant slice of pop-house, and the melancholic electro ballad ‘Blu’ sees Crossan take the lead on a duet with Albarn. In truth, this Guernsey prodigy might not identify with Harris, but the Scottish producer ought to be looking over his shoulder.