Release Date: Aug 1, 2011
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Electronic, IDM, Left-Field Hip-Hop
The debut Hudson Mohawke LP Butter was one of the most audaciously brilliant albums of 2009, and we’ve been waiting to see what the next move of its architect, Ross Birchard, would be. Finally ready for the world, the daftly-titled Satin Panthers builds upon on the promise of previous Mohawke offerings. Birchard crams each cut with crate-loads of ideas, wasting not a moment of the limited running time on this five-track EP.
Satin Panthers is Hudson Mohawke’s third major outing for Warp, and in many respects, it’s also his most accomplished. It’s a tight little EP — five staggering, stuttering, often imperious dancefloor gems — and far more consistent than Butter, his debut full-length from 2009. Opener “Octan” is a masterpiece of a pricktease: all anticipation, no climax.
If having your name dropped across social networking platforms is any gauge of success, Ross Birchard’s doing just fine. Recently, Just Blaze, producer for [a]Eminem[/a] and [a]Jay-Z[/a], tweeted in a spasm of evangelical fervour that he was nearly moved to tears by the young Scot’s production chops.He’s late to the party. [a]Hudson Mohawke[/a]’s debut [b]‘Butter’[/b] dropped on Warp in 2009, prompting ears to adjust to his world of sprung hip-hop beats, alien time signatures and the kind of fractured, Day-Glo synths that felt as if they were sheared from another sonic plane altogether.
Following in the footsteps of labelmate Flying Lotus (a.k.a Fly-Lo), Ross Birchard, the 25-year-old Scottish DJ who records as Hudson Mohawke (a.k.a. Hud-Mo), makes club music seemingly better suited for sci-fi films than for any dance floor we Earthlings are likely to get down on. He manipulates rubbery dubstep beats to mind-bending effect on the deceptively simple “C-Bat” and sends his synthesizers soaring through the roof on “Thank You”—only to give them the chop-and-screw treatment, forcing the synths to keep pace with a Major Lazer-styled drum break.
Hudson Mohawke's recent output-- a bonkers remix of Wiley's "Electric Boogaloo", a handful of decent edits on his Soundcloud-- has been enough to catch relatively high-profile ears. Not long ago, the Glasgow producer (real name: Ross Birchard) received a ridiculously glowing Twitter shout-out from hip-hop head-knocker Just Blaze, and Chris Brown jumped on an old HudMo track. Still, in a way it's surprising Mohawke has received any level of popularity beyond beat freaks and Warp roster-checkers.
While music continues to challenge and divert many artists and bands, it’s never without any due cause. For many, Hudson Mohawke’s Butter was a resounding success of what electronic music could truly be – explosive, creative, diverse – and for others, it was eighteen songs of way too many ideas. Regardless of what camp you fell into, there was little denying the fact that Mohawke’s take on dubstep was something quite spectacular and something to behold of.
The sound of pigeonhole-free ambition slowly being realised, and it’s sounding great. Mike Diver 2011 Hudson Mohawke’s second EP for Warp, and his first new material for the esteemed electro label following 2009’s debut LP Butter, is a five-tracker that leaves the listener immediately keen for more. There was something about Butter that didn’t quite stick – it was a (suitably, perhaps) slippery set, which glided from glitch to gabber with all the stability of a fine china tea set perched precariously atop a dresser during an earthquake.
Even though it's been nearly two years since its release, it's still difficult to know quite what to make of Hudson Mohawke's debut album Butter. It's almost impossible to form a coherent opinion on, largely because it crams so many different angles into its fifty-minute runtime. As soon as it's taken on one form, it swiftly takes a U-turn and heads in the opposite direction; the resulting abrasive, treble-heavy sprawl ends up as something similar to how prog might sound, were it passed through the net-frazzled attention span of a twenty-something Glaswegian hip-hop fan.
EPs are often slight works, but they can be proving grounds for new sounds and experiments that yield fruitful results on later works. The latest from British producer Ross Birchard, aka Hudson Mohawke, is that sort of EP. At a little more than 15 minutes in length, Satin Panthers tries a lot of things—grimy beats, vocal samples, brass synths, chippy bleeps, staggered percussion—with mixed, though never uninteresting results.