Album Of The Week: Hudson Mohawke - Lantern

Written By Michael Carton on 06/15/2015


Scotland’s Hudson Mohawke has finally delivered Lantern, a euphoric, anthemic spectacle, where the highs are high, and the lows, though few and far between, are low.

In the six years since his debut album, Hudson Mohawke has gone from a smelly unwashed tramp making music in his parent’s basement to being a member of the genre defining TNGHT, a producer for Kanye West’s label, and a highly regarded member of the electronic music scene.

The material on Lantern is diverse as his career, with some tracks being sample based, some featuring vocalists, and some reminiscent of his earlier solo work, and some of his more rap oriented work with Lunice.

The brooding title track builds slowly into the accessible first single Very First Breath. Ryderz, a standout, follows, and is built around an old soul sample that eventually explodes into a frenzy of 808s and the sugary synths. ‘Scud Books’ features similar synths combined with massive horns.  We’re eased into Scud Books with prelude, Kettels, a surprisingly delicate composition that wouldn’t be out of place scoring a ballet.

Some of the tracks with vocals work really well, namely Indian Steps with Antony, and Deepspace with Miguel, because they feel like collaborations, rather than the singer just going in over a beat. Warriors, however, is a misstep with some cringeworthy lyrics.  The Jhene Aiko starring Resistence has moments of brilliance but overall, it is crippled under the burden of high expectations.  Wedged between these is Shadows, which is reminiscent some of the seizure-like tracks on Hudmo’s Satin Panthers EP, and Lil Djembe, which would have slotted in nicely on a TNGHT release.

The album finishes strongly with three huge, largely instrumental songs. Portrait of Luci is the closest thing on the album to Fuse from his debut, and System is, put simply, a rave banger.  He closes the album with Brand New World, a stadium rock ape-ing track with muted guitars, twinkling keys and chipmunked refrains.

Lantern is a tight, highly polished record of big beats and shimmering synths with more exciting moments than most.  While the commercial sheen of some tracks may alienate some of his original fans, Hudson Mohawke still retains his eclectic spark on ‘Lantern’, whilst being accessible to new fans.