The first sound on Mux Mool's second album Planet High School is jagged, harsh repetition, tiny samples sent through filters until they create a herky-jerky funk rhythm. It's nothing too out of the ordinary for Ghostly, but there's something unusually sanguine about Minneapolis producer Brian Lindgren's brand of it. His distractedly adventurous Skulltaste debut was an overlong melange of weedy, reedy beats.
Mux Mool's 2010 debut full-length, Skulltaste, held the promise of a whatever-works adventurer who could excel in just about any direction he was pointed. It was easy to assume after the fact that if Brian Lindgren focused on just one of his strengths-- Americanized French touch, fat-bottomed analog hip-hop, gauzy-yet-speaker-rattling downtempo ambient-- he could produce the next phase of a defining sound with real mutation potential. Planet High School narrows his scope and draws a more specific target, streamlining those aforementioned touchstones into a blend of synthesized airiness and thick bass that sounds a bit like g-funk for planetariums.
Planet High School is a title that screams "concept album. " It appears we've entered an age when even a genre as oblique as electronic, "instrumental hip-hop" can feel zeitgeisty if it wants to. Beat-maestro Mux Mool's sophomore full-length release imagines America as a culture of perma-teenagers, skipping from rental property to rental property, without enough bones in the bank to broker a mortgage down payment, but who could care less about that.
On Skulltaste, Mux Mool’s 2010 full-length debut for Ghostly International, Brian Lindgren explored every corner of the beat scene, knitting together all of his influences into one intricate fabric. The genre-absorbing producer covered a lot of ground; his myriad of talents, evident in his ability to cover almost every style under the “bass music” umbrella in a single album, was exciting for sure, but he had yet to carve out a sound of his own. Skulltastic showed great potential, though it seemed obvious after that release that if Lindgren decided to hone in on just one of his strengths, he’d be onto something pretty special.
Just as instrumental electronic music fell out of favour in the past few years, Ann Arbor's Ghostly International released (excellent) records from Gold Panda, Com Truise and Tycho ? three musicians crafting classic-sounding, rhythm-driven electro. This could explain why Skulltaste, the debut album from Ghostly instrumentalist Mux Mool, got lost in the shuffle upon its 2010 release. It's okay though, as follow-up Planet High School can be digested without a proper primer.