In the attention-span-impaired age of Tumblr, Twitter, YouTube and every instantly satisfying distraction imaginable, listeners today are probably less likely to sit down and allow an album to hold them captive from start to finish. A long car ride may be the only opportunity afforded to grasp the intricacies and subtleties associated with an LP meandering through cohesive songs and interludes. Fortunately for Hudson Mohawke fans, it doesn’t take a very long ride to listen to his newest offering, Satin Panthers. Unfortunately for Hudson Mohawke fans, there aren’t many subtleties or intricacies to be absorbed on the 17-minute disc.
Alas, that is the nature of the EP, and it’s not to say that the release lacks enjoyable material. But Satin Panthers seems more like a product sampler than a cohesive unit. Tracks range from bass-filled club beats to drum-line and vocal sample songs best suited for a nice pair of headphones. All of the tracks reflect the electronic turntablism style that Hudson Mo (real name Ross Birchard) has embraced since he started DJing at age 15. The first song, “Octan,” is something of an introduction, beat free and leaving the listener wanting more. “Thunder Bay,” the EP’s single, most definitely works as a club jam with Hudson Mo taking a simple loop and essentially playing with it the entire song –cranking up the bass, adding vocal samples, doing the same loop with a synth, etc. Meanwhile, “Cbat” sounds like an instrumental on the new, highly divisive Blue Scholars LP, Cinemetropolis, essentially a minimalist synth beat heavy on the snare drums.
On that note, the drums on Satin Panthers are my biggest gripe with the release. In the past year, artists such as Mount Kimbie, Dimlite, Shigeto and Flying Lotus, just to name a few, have shown creativity and a willingness to experiment with playful percussion, from wooden clacks to rattling chimes, to crashing bass. Hudson Mo doesn’t take any chances with the percussion, and that works for some tracks but detracts from the overall complexity of the EP.
In the end, fans of Hudson Mohawke will probably enjoy this sampling of things to come. Listeners less familiar with his music may just want to wait for him to release a proper long player. Because while he does have a catalog of EPs and one full length (Butter), Birchard’s sound has evolved and will likely stand far apart from these records in only a matter of time. And for evidence of that, look to the last song, “Thank You,” is a true highlight and testament to the young producer’s humble side that will serve him well as he matures into a promising next stage.
Blue Scholars – Cinemetropolis
Dorian Concept – When Planets Explode
TOKiMONSTA – Midnight Menu
Stream: Hudson Mohawke – “Thunder Bay”