Release Date: Jun 24, 2016
Record label: Brownswood
Genre(s): Electronic, Garage, Club/Dance, International, Dubstep
Four years after his debut, Mala in Cuba, the dubstep pioneer from Croydon releases his long-awaited second album on Gilles Peterson’s label. In this expertly curated record, Mala blends the local instruments and hypnotic polyrhythms of the Andean mountains with the menacing synths and heavy bass of the UK’s underground music scene to narrate his Peruvian travels. From the amorous soprano in Cunumicita to the acoustic guitar accompaniment in The Calling, the album is peppered with tender moments, but isn’t lacking in the weighty, dancefloor-friendly tracks the producer is known for, such as Looney and the breakbeat-influenced finale, Elements.
As with his 2012 debut full-length Mala in Cuba, Mirrors finds the dubstep originator taking up residence in a different land (namely Peru) and integrating its musical traditions with his own style. As ever, his productions are vast and spacious, letting the bass flow out over the carefully paced beats. These tracks incorporate native instruments created from animal bones and dried pumpkins.
By the time Mark Lawrence traveled down to Cuba for the recording sessions that would become 2012's Mala In Cuba, dubstep had already mutated from its origins as a hermetic East London enclave to a world-conquering wobble. Lawrence was always one to find new angles on the sound—be it with his own productions or through his DMZ and Deep Medi Musik labels—and Mala In Cuba was no different. But in having Lawrence again go to the well, getting his passport stamped for another part of the world, there's an inherent risk of diminishing returns.
Mala 'Mirrors' (Brownswood)Mala doesn’t rush things. This album, built around musical patterns and influences from Peru, has been four years in the making, and it seems like his approach has been evolving during that time. Where previous album ‘Mala In Cuba’ blended the steady-stepping sub-bass and rhythms of DMZ with relatively recognisable Cuban sounds, here he plays on the lesser familiarity of Peruvian music and adapts his own production into far more alien structures.