The Critics: Satin Panthers

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Satin Panthers

Hudson Mowhawke

LuckyMe

LuckyMe Records are on a roll. The Glasgow based group of DJs, producers and bands has evolved from a promising start-up to one of the most exciting and innovative groups currently creating dance music. From Rustie’s crazed bass odysseys to Jacques Greene’s Ciara-sampling ‘Another Girl’ (officially the Best -Track-Of-The-Last-Twelve-Months) the increasingly global collective has expanded into exciting new sonic territory and, along with Jackmaster’s super label Numbers, helped to put its hometown on the map as one of Europe’s most exciting cities for dance music.

Now, label stalwart Hudson Mohawke has teamed up with Warp Records to bring his new E.P. Satin Panthers. Mohawke has taken his bubblegum funk palate away from the hip-hop inspired context of his superb first album, Butter, and beefed it up with an increased focus on rhythm; it is a much more dance floor oriented set, with the guest vocalists and synth-nerd workouts of his earlier work dropped in favour of a more muscular, euphoric sound. The results are exhilarating.

The record starts with shimmering arpeggios, as opening track, ‘Octan’, provides a tantalising taster of what’s to come, and it is on second track and lead single ‘Thunder Bay’ that Mohawke’s new vision is first manifested. Its structure is almost comically simple; a big brassy synth and boom-bap drums repeating the same tattoo almost endlessly while childrens’ voices yelp over the top for about two minutes, when abruptly dropping off for a ragged breakdown; before the original motif returns even bigger and more stupid. The track is so monolithic and ridiculous that its unabashed stupidity becomes its most endearing quality. ‘Cbat’, on the other hand, emulates the austere audacity of a Hell Hath No Fury era Neptunes production, sounding as it does like someone having an asthma attack through a vocoder, over a bassy beat reminiscent of Chris Brown’s Diplo produced minor modern classic ‘Look at Me Now’.

But it is on the last two tracks where Mohawke really brings the goods. After the relative restraint shown on the opening tracks, everything is thrown at the canvas; bubblegum synths, pitch-shifted vocals and machine-gun drums ping a florid tiki-taka around a crashing piano sample in ‘Thank You’, and a driving, unstoppable build in ‘All Your Love’, which climaxes in one of the most exhilarating and purely lovable drops in a while. These two tracks are exercises in generosity, and radiate an everything-all-at-once enthusiasm that proves highly infectious. They show a confidence and talent that exceeds even the best songs on Butter (Fuse, Rising Five), and leave the listener in no doubt as to why Mohawke is being tipped by veritable elder statesmen Diplo and Just Blaze as one of the best producers working today.

 

                                       

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