by Allison Baughman
There’s an unexplainable gift that comes with the territory of listening to music. It’s dangerous, because music has an effortless ability to create plethoras of moods and feelings, some of which are welcome, and some of which are not. The most moving types of sound create these temporary personalities in us, and if you’re unfamiliar (or in denial of being moved by anything other than your own free will) let me lay out some examples for you. You’re sitting in your bed on a Friday night after making the decision at work earlier not to go out. You’ve been going a little hard every weekend and decided it’s time for some well deserved R&R. Then you remember you never listened to that SoundCloud track your friend sent you with the text “YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO THIS” at work. You sit back, push play, and the unthinkable happens: a tirade of excitement comes rushing through your veins, into your stomach, and you think of nothing but what it would feel like to listen to this perfect bass line in a dark room with many, many strangers sweating all over each other, the room blurring around you, human features being lit up only when the lights from the strobes hit them at certain angles. You get up, you go out.
This type of change in mood happens in more ways than one, which takes me to exhibit B. You’re in a great mood. You get on the train to head uptown to do some shopping for that thing you definitely don’t need. Who cares? It’s a Saturday afternoon, the day is your oyster. On your way uptown, you realize you forgot to update your Spotify playlist, and those songs you were listening to the other night, the ones that were playing while you were drinking red wine in the bathtub come on. It flicks a switch in your head and all you want to do is go back into your reclusive bedroom, draw the blinds, and write about all the sadness you’ve felt in your recent lifetime.
It’s archaic and almost campy, really, this ‘man hears music, man must move’ formula, but I believe it’s intrinsic to each and every one of us. The musicians that are able to change the course of events in your night based around one song are the ones worth noting.
Enter Hudson Mohawke; an underground Scottish musician turned one of the world’s most sought after producers. How do you know him? Remember that really intense sort of trap sounding song Apple used in one of its commercials for the MacBook Air? Yeah, that was “Chimes”, a masterpiece of trap that will spike up your heart rate the moment the bass-line drops. Heard Kanye West’s album Yeezus? “I Am A God” is a Hudson Mohawke production. But he doesn’t stop there. He’s produced for Pusha T, Drake, Selah Sue, Lil Wayne and so, so many more. Hudson Mohawke is a prime example of a musician who can take over control of your emotions in a heartbeat. His original productions are so heavy and powerful that you can’t help but sometimes imagine yourself a part of some army, fighting cyborgs and zombies and all other types of non-existent creatures. So if he can come up with such powerful songs from scratch, picture what his remixes sound like. That’s right, you guessed it, they’re some of the best electronic remixes made the past decade or so. Take Four Tet’s “Parallel Jalebi” for instance. A song that was on probably 10 of the most influential tastemakers top ten of 2014, a song so pure of heart that anyone who dared to tamper with it should be banished to the depths of music hell. But no, Hudson Mohawke gladly accepts the challenge and does something so insanely loud and brilliant to this song, you can’t help but get the breath kicked right out of you when you hear it. Heavy drum lines building up so fast you think your computer is going to explode from the intensity, but instead the song explodes into a symphony of glitches that will test the limits on your perception of sense intertwine — because you won’t be able to help seeing lights from the sounds pouring through your ears.
Hudson Mohawke is a name in everyone’s mouth right now. He’s just released his sophomore album on June 16th titled Lantern, and it’s one trip of an album. Taking trap, EDM, and *insert genre* to new levels by weaving together sounds from all over, Hudson Mohawke has pushed the boundaries of album making and created something so versatile, it will only solidify the idea that he has a god-like ability to create listening experiences that continue to alter whoever braves the musical inner workings of his mind.