Electronic producer returns with a scrapbook of interesting ideas, diversions and pastiches resulting in his most wide-ranging album yet
After a lengthy break spent on side-projects, mixtapes and a video-game soundtrack, Hudson Mohawke is back with his most wide-ranging album yet. Various electronic styles collide into each other, from rave to 2-step garage and trap to Vangelis-style synths, making for an exhilarating and lengthy release, and the sense of mischief that seemed to abandon him while he was producer to the stars has well and truly returned.
At times Mohawke goes for a parodic sense of the grandiose, such as the trilling strings and crashing drums of the intro and the towering chords of Stump, but Cry Sugar is not afraid to go minimal. 3 Sheets To The Wind relies on a chipmunked soul sample, a mid-tempo beat with intensely distorted bass, then the joyous fusion of the two, the very definition of simple but effective. More abstract moments come with Kpipe and Bow, and while the latter is a bit too lumbering and erratic to really gel its experimental nature is to be admired.
One of Mohawke’s recent dalliances was working with Danny L Harle on his Harlecore record, and this energy is brought to the frantic chord stabs of Bicstan – squiggly 303 lines and high-octane gabber kick drums are thrown into the mix, and it comes together to make the most fleshed-out track on the album. Other songs are longer, such as the rickety syncopation of Rain Shadow and the chirpy house vibes of Is It Supposed, but they’re bogged down in overly repetitive structures and could have easily been whittled down to a more average size.
With Cry Sugar we get a scrapbook of interesting ideas, diversions and pastiches from a producer with little to prove at this stage – it helps that Mohawke’s imagination and skill make the record great fun to listen to.