Album Review: Hudson Mohawke - Chimes EP

I don’t know if there’s a UK producer on the scene who has had a bigger 2014 than Hudson Mohawke. The Glasgow native has been riding an unstoppable wave of momentum that hasn’t stopped since his collaboration with Lunice, TNGHT, put out their eponymous EP back in July of 2012. Since then, I don’t think there’s been a memorable DJ set played that hasn’t had at least an ounce of a TNGHT track or one of the subsequent Hudson Mohawke tracks. The group got the attention of one Kanye West, who featured the two on the Yeezus masterpiece “Blood On The Leaves”, and since then, Hudson Mohawke is more or less a household name in the realm of progressive electronic production. Leading up to the release of his first post-TNGHT solo EP, the man has devastated every building he’s been asked to DJ at. For evidence, you only have to look back a month to his excellent BBC1 set for Diplo & Friends or his Boiler Room x Ray Ban special event in LA, complete with a three minute introduction by Eric Wareheim. The latter features a live appearance from Busta Rhymes (26:30), a ravenous new remix of Kanye West’s “Monster” (48:00), and a point at which the power gives way completely. But apart from the hype, the cool factor, the light shows, and the crazy dance music culture, Hudson Mohawke is just a genius of a producer, and there’s no way to deny that, especially with his new EP Chimes. With a handful of new tracks no doubt the select offering of several dozen we’ve yet to feast on, Hudson Mohawke reminds us why he is at the top of the food chain right now, and does it in a way that makes you lose your mind.

The Chimes title track easily finds itself among the absolute best of the year’s dance tracks. The intro synth chime is instantly recognizable and the build is so natural that even at the point of the explosive chorus drop, nothing feels forced. The TNGHT-style brass lays into you as the bass guides things forward before another breath above the waves and another dive into the deep dark. The track is an easy sell for DJ sets of all kinds - bass heavy sets that want another banger halfway through, or lighter sets that want a killer high point with a slightly groovier tempo. With “Chimes”, Hudson has created a beastly modern classic on par with the TNGHT highlights like “Higher Ground”.

“Brainwave” is definitely the most experimental offering on Chimes hinting a bit at Oneohtrix Point Never while still maintaining the definitive HudMo size and scope. A spherical synthesizer line is backed by waves upon waves of choir voices and bass, both piled to the sky for maximum effect. The interlude track fits perfectly between “Chimes” and its afterparty “King Kong Beaver”, balancing a seismic mass of power with haunting fragility, both elements of which Hudson is no stranger to.

“King Kong Beaver” dropped just days after “Chimes” was first released, but it was buried in Cashmere Cat’s incredible Pitchfork MoMA Mix next to Sophie’s jarring “Lemonade”, so only fans willing to dig have had time to spin it for months on end (this isn’t the first Cashmere nod to Hudson by the way - his edit of “Forever 1″ still to this day one of the most strikingly beautiful of his works). Where “Chimes” takes TNGHT-era Mohawke to new levels of power and drive, “King Kong Beaver” lets the energy burn a little longer, harking back to older Hudson efforts and giving us a melody-heavy synth cut that floats just as much as it pounds. Long-time Hudson fans will find this track very much to their liking.

Chimes is out now on Warp. It contains all the above tracks plus a remix of “Chimes” by UK dance producer Gammer. Check Bleep for full quality digital downloads and the 12″ vinyl. Hudson will play all over the globe through the end of the year, but keep an eye on his Facebook for any future North American dates.

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Wednesday Music News

photo by Renata Steiner (view set)

  • Seattle’s own The Head and the Heart share a fantastical new video for the title track from their most recent release, Let’s Be Still, out now on Sub Pop Records. Director Jon Jon Augustavo says he turned to the children’s classic Mary Poppins for inspiration. Take a look below: [Stereogum]

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Song of the Day: French Style Furs - All The Way Down

photo by Michelle Mosqueda

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “All The Way Down” by French Style Furs from the 2014 album Is Exotic Bait on Frenchkiss Records.

French Style Furs - All The Way Down (MP3)

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Live Video: Ziggy Marley

photo by Renata Steiner (view set)

Ziggy Marley, the multi-Grammy award winning musician and son of Reggae legend Bob Marley, likens being a musician to being a farmer – he waits for the writing season, tends the seeds of ideas, and harvests a crop of songs. “The music comes organically,” he says. And what sweet fruit it is. Watch as Marley performs tracks ranging from his 2003 first solo record, to his fifth and most recent, 2014′s Fly Rasta, plus a gorgeous rendition of his father’s hit “One Love,” one of the most famous and influential reggae songs ever. Midway through the performance, Wo’Pop host Darek Mazzone looks at the camera and mouths, “It’s Ziggy Marley!” Our sentiments exactly. Reap his bountiful inspiration now.

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Out This Week 10/21

This week’s highlights include Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell, the latest volume in the Red Hot series to benefit AIDS awareness. KEXP’s Music Director Don Yates describes the 2-CD collection release as “an impressive 2-CD tribute to influential composer/musician Arthur Russell, whose eclectic works ranged from classical and experimental to disco, folk and rock. An impressive lineup of artists contribute, including Hot Chip, Sufjan Stevens, Robyn, Jose Gonzalez, Phosphorescent, Blood Orange, Cults, Devendra Banhart and many more.”

Former Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore returns with his fourth solo release, backed by James Sedwards of Nought (guitar), Deb Googe of My Bloody Valentine (bass) and Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth (drums). Toronto-based band Elliott BROOD share their “most polished release to date of anthemic folk-rock, combining crunchy electric guitars and a variety of more rootsy instrumentation with catchy song hooks and epic sing-along choruses.” Former Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan Band shares his latest release, a set of “brooding electro-rock combining atmospheric synths and guitars and ominous beats with his deep, husky vocals and often-dark lyrics.” And, on their fourth album, Staten Island’s Budos Band continues “to head in a heavier and darker musical direction, with ten strong instrumentals combining muscular Afro-beat and funk-rock rhythms with fuzzy psych-rock guitars, sinister keyboards and chunky horn riffs.”

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Tuesday Music News

photo by Morgen Schuler

  • British electronic duo Orbital have announced their retirement. Brothers Paul and Phil Hartnoll have been making music together since the 80′s, but according to their official statement: “Nothing lasts forever and it’s time to stop.” Phil wasted no time announcing his own solo project called 8:58. He’s even shared his first song and video, aptly titled, “8:58.’ Listen, below. [CoS]

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Live Video: JEFF the Brotherhood

photo by Brady Harvey (view set)

It’s not just because they’re young (or high) that brothers Jake and Jamin Orrall consider the “classics” bands like Pixies, Beck, and My Bloody Valentine. JEFF the Brotherhood draw from some fairly obvious influences for their sludgy punk-metal sound, but on their new EP, Dig the Classics, the Orrall’s point to the diverse influences for their ever-present pop melodies at the root of all their songs, including also The Wipers, Teenage Fanclub and their contemporary Colleen Green. But if you know these guys, you know they’ve gotta make it sound like JEFF. So get ready for a blazing set, featuring an original from their forthcoming LP, two hits from Dig, and a beer-swillin’ non-EP cover of Rush’s “Working Man”:

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Song of the Day: Pond - Waiting Around For Grace

photo by Jim Bennett

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Waiting For Grace” by Pond from the 2014 album Man It Feels Like Space Again on Spinning Top Music.

Pond - Waiting Around For Grace (MP3)

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Live Around Town This Week

Perfume Genius // photo by Morgen Schuler

Monday, October 20th

• KEXP Presents Sloan at Tractor Tavern // 21+ (more info)

Placebo with The Moth & The Flame at Showbox SoDo // All Ages (more info)

MØ, Holychild at the Neptune Theatre // All Ages (more info)

Tennis, Pure Bathing Culture, Crystal Skulls at Neumos // 21+ (more info)

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TV Eye: Week of 10/20

So So Glos // photo by Eric Gonzalez Alfaro

KEXP has our TV eye set for this week in late night television. Set your DVR, TiVo, or just drink some coffee to stay awake for these musical guest performances on your favorite talk shows. Here are the highlights:

Monday, October 20th:
The Colbert Report: Neil Young (R)

Wednesday, October 22nd:
Late Show with David Letterman: Ryan Adams (R)
Last Call with Carson Daly: Cerebral Ballzy
The Tavis Smiley Show: George Clinton

Thursday, October 23rd:
Last Call with Carson Daly: So-So Glo’s

Friday, October 24th:
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: Fences featuring Macklemore (R)

Saturday, October 25th:
Austin City Limits: Tweedy

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