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Mahatma X – A Mobtown Suite Vol.II

Mahatma X – ‘A Mobtown Suite Vol.II’ (Home Assembly Music)
Review by Paul Lockett

It could be argued that in general, the majority of albums have a progressive theme, an awareness of self and an overriding sense of continuity, explicitly describing where the artist is coming from and where they want their music to carry you. I mention this because here is an album which feels like a scrapbook of literally hundreds of ideas with only a CD-sized amount of time in which to explore them.

This is Mahatma X‘s second album for the ever-reliant Home Assembly Music label from West Yorkshire. But Mahatma X’s music is as detached from Yorkshire as you could possibly imagine. In fact, the many influences take their cues from 70’s disco via downbeat jazz to early 2000’s hip-hop and even 60’s “ba-da-ba-da-ba-ba” vocals mashed with a contemporary bassline and drums to create a fusion which sounds both familiar and yet bang up-to-date.

There are a massive 24 tracks on offer here, with some real killer tracks. I guess that the first few times you listen to the album, the short & sweet tracks will either hook you in or throw you completely off-kilter with their constant changes of tempo and complete 90 degree turns. It certainly makes for a rollercoaster ride of an album and one that pulls you back for repeated listens.

In fact, it’s the constantly evolving nature of the album and its way of throwing a handbrake turn that will draw you back for more. That really is this album’s appeal in a nutshell. Even within the context of a single song, the whole feel of the track can change within seconds of it commencing (‘Zuuuuu’). Where the song actually arrives can be somewhere almost completely different from where it begins.

There are nods to dreampop (‘JAGUAR’), as imagined through the hazy sunglasses of A.R.Kane. ‘EMBRACE’ initially takes us deep into the basement clubs of Detroit before inviting us into a backstreet bar where Yppah is controlling the decks. ‘Tanqueray’ takes the spirit of mid-70s disco but takes its major cues from modern-day hip-hop.

‘Bmore Knights’ is a standout track. I personally only wish that it was more sort of 8 minutes rather than its lowly 2 minutes duration. It kind of fuses different songs, instruments, vocals and whatever the band could throw into the mix into one huge jam, almost in a Moby-like manner. I’m pretty certain that dancefloors would love an expanded version of it.

There’s a really nice production here too – the “feel” of the album is one of a warm, summery day. The band has created something really vibrant and exciting.

A note for all the vinyl lovers – the band has added “vinyl crackle” into the mix, meaning that if you’ve ordered the vinyl version of this album, don’t assume that it’s scratched…. those crackles are meant to be present in the mix.

Now… if there’s somebody out there who’s up to the challenge of remixing Bmore Knights and sending me an extended jam, please get in touch. I’m loving it.

A Mobtown Suite Vol.II is released on May 10th on limited-edition burgundy vinyl, black vinyl & CD.