Can you change the world of music from a bedroom? The advent of soundcloud has brought a plethora of amazing artists into our ears, with many of them creating their music straight from their bedrooms. When we hear bedroom producer, we need to think more Ableton, beat pads, and mixers than we do posters on the wall, plates and laundry stacked 10 high, and racing car beds.
Mura Masa’s self-titled debut album is the end product of a journey that began years ago in the 20 year old’s bedroom. Whilst previous projects ‘Soundtrack to a death’ and ‘Someday Somewhere’ may have been created in his bedroom, this album is a highly polished, studio number featuring heavy hitting artists such as Damon Albarn, Christine & The Queens, Charli XCX, A$AP Rocky, and Desiigner.
I will admit, I have a dog in this race. ‘Someday Somewhere’ is very close to the top of my best ever EP list, so this album had plenty to live up to. Mura Masa’s (Alex Crossan) first project, ‘Soundtrack to a Death’ is a diverse work of beats that is more an eclectic mix of what this young producer was capable of from an early age. ‘Someday Somewhere’ is a 7-track EP, that refines those beats into a more coherent, solidified sound and introduces more vocals that develop the and refine the beats.
“Mura Masa” is another progression of that sound. The vocals now take the centre stage. This is a full on modern pop album. Many songs have a strict verse and chorus structure, with the beautifully layered, synth and instrument heavy beats taking a back seat. Calypso and dancehall are rich themes throughout the album. ‘1 Night’, and ‘Second 2 None’ are all prime example of this. ‘Crossan’s’ ability to meld genre’s together is impressive. Rap and Hip Hop inspired off beats, mix with light ethereal house layers in ‘All Around the World’ give a great example of this.
‘Nothing Else’ is a funky, upbeat track that immediately grabs your attention. Written on the day Prince died, guitars and vocals by Jamie Lidell serve as a homage to the master of funk. Crossan steps behind the mike for the opening track ‘Messy Love’ which introduces you to the dancehall and calypso world you are about to enter.
Previously released singles ’Love$ick’, ‘What If I Go’, and ‘Firefly’ are also Included on the album. ‘Love$ick’, the track that catapulted Mura Masa to prominence across the world acts as a wider metaphor for this album. Listened back to back with its original track ‘Lovesick’ (From ‘Someday Somewhere’), there is an element and pristineness of the beat that gets altered or sullied by the inclusion of A$ap Rocky. Mura Masa’s beats are so rich, diverse, layered, and subtle, that to have the chorus and verse structure of a pop song as the focus, takes away from what made them so special.
This isn’t the album I was hoping for, but it is the album that best demonstrates the direction Mura Masa is heading in. He is not content with making beat tapes and EP’s from his bedroom. This is an all-out, modern, British pop album that is going to change how modern pop albums are constructed. No longer is the singer in charge. This is the age of the producer. And Mura Masa is the dawn of that age.
“Mura Masa” is available now via the Mura Masa Webstore.
author: Anthony Glanville