In the six years that have passed since Hudson Mohawke told us how it was with his debut Butters, just about everyone has given the ol’ EDM thing a go. Now a GOODMusic guru, the guy has worked with everyone there is to know in Yeezy‘s circle of trust (you bet he has one).
Now, all Zedds aside, our hit-making Scot is back. Though Very First Breath left us expecting more rather than wanting more, we’re still excited to hear what the bat-shit break-beater has for us. The prelude to that lacklustre song is the static-meets-panpipes title track of Lantern, which opens the album and has HudMo staying true to form with the tangential stylings that have gotten him this far.
We learnt of Hud’s penchant for samples of yester-decade with Yeezus‘s Blood On The Leaves, so it makes sense that we now have tracks like Ryderz, a brass-led glory-days biker theme with all the 70s nostalgia you can imagine. Ruckazoid collab Warriors stoops in next, citing ‘fuck the haters’ as the album’s bleariest entry – surprising, in that by now you would have thought HudMo could singularly produce a better down-tempo R&B melody than this.
If what we’ve heard so far isn’t proof that this man is all-embracing when it comes to his work, he proves it further as Lantern progresses. Kettles is grand, orchestral, synth-glimmering wonderland before electro-pop Scud Books. And he ain’t afraid to take it down a notch as 808s flicker through the melancholic Indian Steps (Lantern’s true turning point when it comes to maturity) before glitch-hop gem Lil Djembe.
And, of course, there are the star appearances, from Antony on those Indian Steps to Miguel and his haunting pleas on Deepspace, which ends up being a highlight. Consistency remains high throughout, given the back-to-back Resistance, Portrait of Luci, and System; between the three we have Hudson Mohawke’s class acts in rave, glitch and industrial house. In other words, his experimental best.
While HudMo’s diary has been pretty packed in the last few years, it’s evident he’s worked hard on his artistry since Butters. While his production cannot be faulted, more could certainly have been made of Lantern‘s collaborators to overcome that ‘difficult’ sophomore album. In future, looking after that side of things might make us quicker to return.
Lantern by Hudson Mohawke can be ordered here.