Though he only had a modest arsenal of limited 12-inches to his name, Hudson Mohawke spent a decent part of the last year with his ears burning. Everybody, it seemed, couldn't help but talk up his deformed glitch-hop productions. Polyfolk Dance, his debut "wide" release, finds the 22-year-old following the path his previous material has trodden—particularly in the bruising appropriations of former R&B glories from his blistering Ooops! EP. Instead of a finished product, what we have here is the sound of a producer still finding his way.
Eschewing the more retiring material from the recent All City 7-inch, Polyfolk Dance is an incessant listen from the off, opening with "Polkadot Blues" and its cacophonous gospel choir of acid-laced chipmunks. If there's one thing not lacking in this record it's in its feel-good sheen—a vibe you'd expect from Gang Starr reworked by Black Dice. Analogue hiss has been present on Mohawke's previous mixes and soft digital releases, but Polyfolk Dance favours a certain FM gloss, leaving "Overnight" able to shine as a colossal beast of a track.
With most tracks clocking in at less than three minutes, though, there is a worrying tendency: Mohawke often builds up steam only to run head first into a cul-de-sac. The staccato synths of "Speed Stick" provide intrigue but little else, instead recalling the defunct funk of Squarepusher's recent bass musings, rolling about lethargically without much of an appetitive to go anywhere.
With the talents of Dorian Concept, Mount Kimbie and his fellow LuckyMe associates churning out wave upon wave of classic instrumental hip-hop turns, Mohawke's high-end histrionics seem far less alien than they did twelve months ago. But even so, the sounds that Mohawke showcases on Polyfolk Dance—a blend of jungle, big beat, IDM and hyphy—are as intoxicating as they are intriguing.
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Tracklist: Hudson Mohawke - Polyfolk Dance A1 Polkadot Blues
B1 Speed Stick
B2 Velvet Peel