- It seems like the more hyped an artist is, the less we actually hear from them. That's certainly been the case with Ross Birchard—since he was signed by Kanye West's GOOD Music and his TNGHT project exploded, his solo output as Hudson Mohawke has dried up. Though he's had production credits on albums by West, Pusha T and Drake, he hasn't released an EP since 2011.
What's most striking about "Chimes" is its directness—the track trades his synths-on-synths-on-synths style for a lean and spacious take on trap. It's almost too spacious, in fact—the gaps of silence between the drums dampen the impact of what should be a massive drop, and though it sounds clean and professional, there's something hasty about its simplicity. With an epic chord progression and orchestral pomp but not enough elbow grease to properly deliver it, "Chimes" feels like a watered-down TNGHT track, an average tune in the catalogue of an artist who usually feels like a pioneer. A rudimentary edit by Gammer jacks up the energy but doesn't do much to improve on the original.
Like a 2014 makeover of something from Satin Panthers, "King Kong Breeze" programs Birchard's old proggy excess into cheap-sounding hip-hop synth horns and funky leads. Pushed forward by swooning drums that hit with a satisfying knock, it easily overshadows "Chimes," primarily because it sounds more identifiably like Hudson Mohawke. The same goes for "Brainwave." It's only a two-minute interlude but the bubbly synth lead gestures towards his well-known love for happy hardcore, offering a more personal glimpse into his world. Mohawke's first EP in three years is less a knockout than a stepping stone, hinting at new directions and—hopefully—more new material to come.
B1 King Kong Beaver
B2 Chimes (Gammer Re-Edit)