It’s been two years since the blooming English producer Alex Crossan, known as Mura Masa, published his very first EP “Someday Somewhere”, praised by both fans and critics. We left him with a very cool pile of finely produced tracks, very enjoyable music to bounce along and a lot of expectations. He is one of those young artist that got incredibly popular in such an extremely short amount of time that it’s hard to believe he got there just crafting sounds in his bedroom and displaying his musical efforts through the internet, but that’s actually how it went. Keep in mind his first SoundCloud uploads are only three years old.
In the first place, “Mura Masa” is packed with collaborations. For instance, it’s pretty astounding to see artists that have so many different styles and musical backgrounds all together, one next to the another, from Desiigner to Damon Albarn all on the same album. We certainly recognise the will to cover a broad-spectrum of musical experiences and we must give Alex credit for doing so with great success. As a matter of fact, his intention with this record was to frame-up “a collection of cultural moments”, as he said during an interview for Beats 1 Radio, and the choice of collabs no-doubt was done thoughtfully: it is clear that Mura Masa wanted to reach the biggest and most various audience possible. Therefore, it seemed reasonable to have fair expectations for this debut album released via Polydor on July 14, 2017, which are, unfortunately, not always satisfied. Or better, the record is fun and moving but when it comes to new ideas, it’s definitely not that much of a step forward when compared to his previous works.
When we pay heed to “Mura Masa” we instantly get that “summer-party vibe” which is always exciting but unavoidably a bit generic too. The album doesn’t grow that much from one track to another, even though the whole record is definitely finely crafted. In brief, it doesn’t offer anything mind-blowing. We cannot venture that much more of a criticism on this new work, apart from it being easy listening and super accessible, as said before. However, it has its own things to offer and it’s thoroughly enjoyable.
Lyrically, the main theme is modern love, with consistent autobiographic elements. A great example is the cross-section of love’s effects on life served on a plate of rich, crisp bass lines sitting under the voice of Bonzai in Nuggets” and then in “What If I go?”. “1 Night”, being maybe the most radio friendly track off the record, easily stucks in your mind with a sort of slam-dunk pop refrain and crystal clear sounds. Probably the track on which Mura Masa offers the best compromise between general accessibility and audio polish.
All in all, Mura Masa probably achieves the pinnacle of the entire record with its last track. The underrated, wavy, James Blake-inspired “Blu”, which role is to close the album in the softest manner possible, with a dispassionate and confused autotuned Damon Albarn, singing under his breath “You don’t seem to understand me when I say I’m feeling blu love“. If you’ve ever been so in love it feels like you’re on cocaine but stuck in a disorienting relationship, you know what to expect from this and from the opener “Messy Love“, which features Crossan’s voice and his alluring beats.
In conclusion “Mura Masa” is a solid debut album from a very young producer who’s capable of doing great things, and due to this, we expect more from his next record hoping to hear improved arrangements in the future.