The massive quantities of electronic music dished out online poses a formidable obstacle for any artist vying to reach an audience. Punching through Soundcloud, a music streaming service that sees hundreds of minutes of new music uploaded every sixty seconds, is somewhat of a miracle.
It just so happens that Miles Davidson, operating under the stage name MUTO, is in the business of working miracles. In 2014, the Sydney based producer blessed Soundcloud with an explosive remix of Justin Timberlake’s ‘What Goes Around… Comes Around’, which was then endorsed by old friend Harley Streten aka Flume.
MUTO’s apostleship has grown tremendously since that prophetic Timberlake retake, the one man act has reinforced his sanctity with the release of his debut EP, titled ‘ARCANE’. MUTO razes walls to make ‘ARCANE’ accessible to anyone with an electronic itch. It’s an open house, and everyone is invited. Flume’s impact can be heard in the rhythm of fuzzy synths and frequency shifts across 2016’s ‘Purple Heart’, while ‘Through the Fog’ and ‘Lighter’, showcase a dissociative energy evocative of The Glitch Mob.
‘ARCANE’ begins with a similarly glitchy vitality; the churning bass and moaning buzz that drive track one, ‘Rogue’, bring to mind ‘To Drink The Sea’, and while the numbers that follow are endearing and diverse in the scope of the EP, individually they too fall somewhat short of being idiosyncratic. Succeeding track ‘Tessellation’ are a nod to Flume and Disclosure but such likeness is nothing to complain about; the composition is gorgeous. Blooming synth stabs meld immaculately with the timbre of feature vocalist Oliver Dibley, while in the background, hi-hats and snares dance upon the foundation laid by reactive kicks.
‘Cloud Party’ is an aptly named jam that will propel your psyche to an elevation where, in between the songs many actors, there is just enough space to breathe. Imagine ascending through darkness as vocal cuts trail across a firmament of atmospheric oscillations, until the chorus drops from dizzying heights.
‘Say Nothing’ may very well leave you speechless from the start. Whining sirens generate juxtaposing moods characterized by feelings of urgency and infinite space. To keep you from drifting into the dimensionless void, featured vocalist Emerson Leif issues assurance in the midst of some sidechained kicks: “Say nothing, love, let your eyes do the talking.” With the addition of some extra percussive elements in the pre-chorus, the increasing frequencies of white noise taper a pulsing synth so that the following drop achieves maximum impact.
Penultimate ‘Wildfire’ taps the brakes with a lofi R&B beat that slowly rises to meet featured vocalist Deutsch Duke as he repeatedly cries, “what are we why do we hurt” and “I miss you”. Ironically ‘Wildfire’ reduces the peak temperature raised by ‘Say Nothing’ to a that of a tepid electric blanket.
On the other hand, the final track ‘Fade’ feels like an impertinent addition to the EP. While it testifies to MUTO’s breadth of stylistic capabilities, the track falters in part due to a lazy rap pasted to a beat that stumbles on its own. Its disparate, but this one odd number fails to undermine the EP as a whole.
MUTO dishes out some serious heat with the electrically stimulated fire that is ‘ARCANE’, and despite its being somewhat pastiche in sampling themes from the likes of Flume, The Glitch Mob and Disclosure ‘ARCANE’ still rises to stands tall on its own. MUTO prepares to embark on a nationwide tour in Australia following a performance at Splendour in the Grass.
Buy/Stream: Of Leisure