That may have little to do with Complete Walkthru, and yet it's hard not to wonder what occurred to Max McFerren when he came up with his new alias and its self-titled mini-album. The Brooklynite's work as Complete Walkthru splits the difference between the free-for-all of MCFERRDOG and the more functional floorfillers released under his given name. So there's nothing here quite like the muscular house on last year's Sipps, or a goofy, omnivorous dance album like Lawd Forgive Me, but the tracks could very well appeal to fans of both. That curious dichotomy of professional amateurism is at the heart of this music.
What's also central to Complete Walkthru is its zippy, freewheeling pace and colorful palette, qualities that should evoke memories of hours spent immersed in imagined worlds. Or they won't—these tracks are warm, groovy and richly melodic regardless of outside reference points. Toss "Currently Playin" into your next mix and watch the dancers lift off with its spacey, hard-stomping funk. Gentle as it is, the radiant throb of "Intuition Brought Me Here" moves with a confident and convincing grace. It seems obvious, however, where the inspiration for the bouncy, childlike "Blatant Doug," or a mercurial sound world like "Feeble Funk," came from. Look no further than the work of Soichi Terada, an erstwhile video game composer, to find plenty of similar ideas.
Whether cherrypicking from these tracks or letting them all play out, some slight issues arise. "Rn Atm," the bubbliest and slipperiest stepper on Complete Walkthru, is just under two minutes long, which undermines its potential as a big tune. Same goes for "Airbody Tipse," a sleek little intro that disappears just as you learn to love its broken digi-funk. The jittery "Performative Grief," on the other hand, could be useful on a dance floor, even if its abundance of synths threatens to overcomplicate the bassline's punchy Morse code rhythm. But any individual gripe seems beside the point of McFerren's sharp and eclectic production work. As it says on Complete Walkthru's release page: "This prologue of sorts is the tragedy of Jaco Pastorius shown to us as we watch someone else game for us." Thoughtfulness, relaxation, stories, laughter, suspense, weirdo music—now there's a guide for how to have a good time.