It’s been a whirlwind 18 months for the Guernsey-born electronic Producer/DJ Mura Masa (Alex Crossan).
He’s gone from making beats in his Uni halls to headlining festivals up and down the country and dropping a full-length debut album to critical acclaim — all whilst being only 21, as Gianluca Leo writes…
Drawing on influences from Kaytranada, Porter Robinson, Disclosure and Bonobo in particular, Mura Masa has developed his own chilled, almost tropical electro sound to the point where casual listeners would be able to go “yeah sounds like a Mura Masa tune.” This is thanks in part to his steady stream of successful singles that he’s dropped over the course of last year — all of which feature on the new album.
Coming in at just over 45 minutes, it’s not a particularly long album compared to his dance/electronic compatriots but it doesn’t take away from its appeal. The opening tracks ‘Messy Love’ and ‘Nuggets’ pretty much define what Mura Masa is all about — this almost understated electronic bumping sound that ushers the listener to participate in a little head nod without even realising.
Bonzai who features on ‘Nuggets’ and ‘What if I Go’ later on in the album is a match made in heaven as she feels tailor made to be on any Mura Masa tune with her smooth vocals and no nonsense flow, unlike some of the other featured guests that spring up on the album but we’ll get to that.
‘Lovesick’, the oldest and arguably biggest Mura Masa song to date originally debuted in 2015 before catching the attention of A$AP Rocky well over a year later towards the end of 2016 and has since been his biggest commercial success to date.
For any Brighton natives who have ever ventured into Patterns (or Green Door Store) during a Donuts night, you would have 100% heard ‘Firefly’ boom through that venue creating a vibe unparalleled to most other Mura Masa bangers – it’s infectiously uplifting.
‘Helpline’ featuring the relatively unknown yet uber cool Tom Tripp is my personal favourite track on the album, a song that I’ve noticed provides a great travel soundtrack with its tempo faster than usual for a Mura Masa track – and faster than a usual Southern Rail train, too.
How the meme that is Desiigner ever managed to end up on this album is anyone’s guess but in my opinion, he feels really out of place on the song ‘All around the world’ and the more recent 67 remix of the same song sounds so much better yet didn’t make the cut. “1 Night” with Charli XCX as catchy as it may be, really doesn’t appeal to me. It’s obviously his radio single to reach out into the mainstream (he has an album to sell after all) and I actually find the hook grindingly annoying.
I was also left underwhelmed by Damon Albarn’s lacklustre contribution on the song ‘Blu’ and as a massive Gorillaz fan, I was expecting a bit more from him. ‘Nothing Else’ is my least favourite track on the album. Jamie Lidell doesn’t bring a lot to the table feature wise and the song’s attempts to incorporate a funk-infused Daft Punk vibe falls very short.
Solid on the whole, the hit and miss collaborations stop it from being a truly fantastic body of work but for a debut, it’s a great opening and I’m excited to hear what’s to come from Mr Masa. 3 tropical flavoured cans of Rio out of 5.