Album Of The Week: Hudson Mohawke - Lantern


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.



Album Review: Oisima - Nicaragua Nights


After dropping an EP and a few mixtapes, Oismia, a South Australian MPC mastermind with a blues/ folk background, has finally released his full length debut. Occupying the middle ground between Pete Rock's soulful hip hop and Andres' jazzy house, Oismia is a breath of fresh air in an Australian beat scene dominated by quantised 808 hihats and too familiar synths.

Nicaragua Nights is his debut LP, and it delivers from start to finish. Informed by repeat listenings of Bonobo's North Borders, and artists like Lapalux and guys on Brainfeeder, Oisima skilfully manages a delicate mix of instrumental tracks and those with added vocalists to create a work which will appeal to fans of the beats scene and also to a casual listener.

His newfound approach to songwriting, as opposed to mere beat-making, shines through on Sun of Truth featuring the soulful vocals of Mei Sariswati, and on one of his earlier tracks Everything About Her featuring Anabel Weston. Anabel Weston also features on Makes me Feel Alright, a track which uses space to great effect, emphasising the atmospherics and the lofty beat. The real delights of the album come from the instrumental tracks like Grovers Lament, Summertime Shuffle and MmmHmm which showcase a lush, jazzy side, all featuring Oismia's unique push pull.

The majority of the album features live recordings, as opposed to just samples, and this helps set this album apart from its peers'. The final track of the album Take Your Time, is a fitting closer, bringing everything to a climax in a wash of instrumentation, which features contributions from a twenty of his friends, collaborators and some Swedish backpackers.

In recent years Australian electronic music has been labelled as the 'Australian Sound', due to the rise of Future Classic artists such as Flume. Oisima and artists like Hiatus Kaiyote, and Jordan Rakei (and maybe Chet Faker), are putting forward a good case that a new, more soulful, phase of that sound has dawned.

Oisima's Nicaragua Nights is out now