Think the height of summer antics. Fruity flavoured beverages in the middle of a sweaty walled club. Okay, so the rain maybe pelting down on the outside, but sure what else would you expect from an Irish summer. Weather wise, not so great, but Mura Masa is forecasting long nights ahead, accompanied by stifling beats and funky bass lines. The Guernsey-born DJ dropped his self-titled debut album on 14th July and has been causing quite a stir long before. Already familiar with the taste of success, Mura Masa has topped the Spotify Viral UK and US charts as well as co-writing “First Things First” on Stormzy’s Gang Signs & Prayer. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Mura Masa’s 13 track record is home to many star-studded features including Charli XCX, A$AP Rocky and Damon Albarn to name a few. So, this guy has some serious contacts at his fingertips but is he worth all the hype?
Believe the hype, but it’s obvious this guy is still trying to figure out what musical avenue to pursue.
Tropical infused beats introduce ‘Messy Love’, the perfect back drop for one of those holiday getaway adverts. Interesting melodic methods such as the marimba generate a very funky, lullaby-esque vibe. Irish native Bonzai lends her distinctive vocals to the infectious ‘Nuggets’ (Yeah you read that one right, nuggets). A hip shaking, shoulder popping bassline is addictive and as the lyrics recite, you’ll ‘feel the effects in a second’. Mura Masa shines, ushering simple drum beats and rhythmic hand clapping, allowing Bonzai’s attitude slay the track. A dynamic collaboration in need of encouragement.
Next in line to undergo some Masa magic is A$AP Rocky. ‘Love$ick’ harbours an effortless piano riff and over 32 million views on Youtube. However, the steel pans own this song, breeding a modern alternative of tropical infused house with a little bit of rap thrown in for good measure.
‘One Night’ popped up on my newsfeed a few months ago, and being a fan of Charli XCX, I gave it a listen. Initially, I didn’t think much of it now and the story remains very much the same. A similar tale can be told about ‘All Around the World’ featuring Desiigner which once again fuses rap and house but the overall results sound rather generic. ‘give me The ground’ stands aloof from the rest of the album, driven by the traditional instrumental of a guitar. Again, the flow Mura Masa is so desperately trying to maintain has been interrupted. But don’t fret, the oriental sword smith enthusiast has potential and ‘What if I go?’ restores our faith. Featuring the ever so cool Bonzai for a second addition, this highlight not only solidifies their musical chemistry but the revival of UK garage. Scratchy drum beats and steel pans compliment the verse but the break down is sheer class. This is one you’ll have on repeat.
Sugary sweet vocals courtesy of NAO keeps the party going. ‘Firefly’ bears processed beats and a trickling xylophone whereas ‘NOTHING ELSE!’ sides with heavy synthesisers. Apparently written on the same day Prince passed away, you can tell his influence nurtured this soulful electro endeavour.
Closing the late part of the album, ‘helpline’ spits out the occasional reality buster lyric such as ‘Got no money left in my NatWest’ after a crazy night on the lash. ‘Second 2 None’ is a grower, give this one a chance, the drum n’ bass will hook you in. The Guernsey chap has also released a stream of videos to compliment many of the tracks on this album, depicting boys growing up on a council estate, smoking cigarettes and stealing the pizza guy’s motor. London is Masa’s second home, and this concept glows in a not so gritty but cosmopolitan fashion.
Damon Albarn’s highly anticipated contribution is finally unveiled on the final track ‘Blu’. Now, this number won’t necessarily leave you feeling blue but more so disappointed.
The best of Mura Masa is brewing in a make shift studio somewhere in Guernsey. Don’t take your eye off these guys.