Two years after his audacious debut LP, this Scottish electronic music visionary shows he can still wed experimental flights of fancy and pop-R&B glossiness with an unassuming, unbridled joy.
The debut Hudson Mohawke LP Butter was one of the most audaciously brilliant albums of 2009, and we’ve been waiting to see what the next move of its architect, Ross Birchard, would be. Finally ready for the world, the daftly-titled Satin Panthers builds upon on the promise of previous Mohawke offerings. Birchard crams each cut with crate-loads of ideas, wasting not a moment of the limited running time on this five-track EP. The young Scotsman is up to his trademark tricks, colliding fractured glitch beats and sparkling, diamond-crusted synths with uptempo R&B hooks in a brazen yet extraordinarily accomplished manner that belies the boyish, for-the-hell-of-it glee behind the process. The EP functions ideally as one sustained blast, which means the shorter instrumental compositions (the 8-bit-vid-game-soundtrack-posited-as-earth-shaking-overture of “Octan”, the insistent chopped-and-screwed club funk of “Thunder Bay”, and the simian menace of “Cbat”) come across as little more than intriguing experiments when listened out of the record’s context. There’s also no tremendous pop triumph of the caliber of “Joy Fantastic” at the ready, though “All Your Love”—a futurist, apex-of-the-night dance-floor filler that throws a new jack swing piano figure in the middle--comes compellingly close. After all the anticipation, Satin Panthers demonstrates that Birchard remains a talent worth lauding, and hopefully this release is a mere taster for further top-rate HudMo jams soon to come.