Alex Crossan a.k.a. Mura Masa came into the electronic scene as a purveyor of Flume-ish, HudMo-ish beats, all sidechain and wonky synths that were so in vogue around the mid-2010s. He then became something of a chameleon, with production credits for artists as diverse as Stormzy and Chic that were all but unrecognisable as his work. Now with the release of his second album, R.Y.C, he rebrands with a style more influenced by punk and debuts his singing voice.
To be a young person in 2020 is to feel deeply lonely, politically distressed, and rattled with anxiety. It is also, perhaps as a result, to be obsessively nostalgic--for sitcoms, tracksuits, even old memes--clinging to memories and their soothing power. Mura Masa can testify to all of the above. The 23-year-old artist and producer born Alex Crossan recently told Zane Lowe that he spends "all his free time playing old video games, watching cartoons, and eating cereal, arrested development-style," and revisiting the music that shaped his youth.
After the release of his self-titled album a few years ago, which expanded the influence and scope of Britain's unique electronic sound, Alex Crossan's second album 'R.Y.C' (Raw Youth Collage) marks a change of direction. The producer has made bold and brave steps for his sophomore album; switching up from his usual electronic style to a guitar-heavy, angsty sound while laying down his own vocals on some of the main tracks. Opener 'Raw Youth Collage' sets the tone for the rest of the album.
The title of Mura Masa's second album, R.Y.C., stands for Raw Youth Collage, and its contents zero in on all of the messy, uncertain feelings that come with young adulthood. Not quite as long or guest-heavy as the producer's 2017 major-label debut, the album feels much more personal and introspective, with lyrics directly addressing confusion and alienation. First track "Raw Youth Collage" features a sequence of barely connected thoughts ("I don't know who I'm supposed to be," "All my friends have changed," "I can't see past the screen") over chiming guitars and floating, atmospheric synths.
Y ou can't accuse the 23-year-old Guernsey producer Mura Masa of false advertising. Raw Youth Collage, his second album, is bitty and a little raw - notably Deal Wiv It, a persuasive 2019 track in which the punkoid exclamations of slowthai set a tone. Another bouncy track, No Hope Generation, manifests as a string of cliches, however; its punk-lite rush fails to engage.