MUUI has become a real creative force in the past two years, with much of his best work appearing on Crossfrontier Audio. ‘Crossfrontier Audio presents MUUI Live’ hovers somewhere between an artist album, a DJ-mix, and a live performance, with each of the track written and produced by MUUI, stitched into one 80-minute long continuous musical piece, and with the arrangements being crafted on the fly throughout.
Musically, it’s largely of a piece with MUUI’s last release on the label, the excellent ‘Another Day EP’, with urgent melodies combining with meticulously arranged low-slung basslines and intricate percussion. Indeed, both tracks from the EP make an appearance here, offering some welcome familiar moments in amongst the twelve new tracks, though ‘Past is Practice’ sounds even trippier than before, and ‘Another Day’ has been more extensively reworked.
It’s not hard to find other highlights. ‘Suggestions’ sits in between the two tracks already mentioned, and floats ghostly atmospherics and melodies over two fantastic bass parts, delivering a moment of immeasurable beauty. ‘Colder Since’ starts life as a spacied-out, warped, and somewhat discordant slice of techno, of the sort we’ve been hearing from MUUI on his own Paranoid Dancer label recently, but by the time MUUI has let simple drifting melodies creep in, it’s become something truly special.
‘Confetti’ offers a dubby, stripped-back nod to MUUI’s ‘Confetti In Her Hair’ on Lowbit last year, still one of the highlights of his career so far, while ‘One Zero’ lets spectacular melodies duke it out over a pumping bassline, offering the emotional climax of the album, before ‘Three Ten’ cranks up the paranoia levels, and ‘Always’ ends proceedings on a beatless but upbeat note.
But the individual tracks need to be heard in their proper place, as part of the ebb and flow of MUUI’s live mix, which moves between gentle electronica, MUUI’s distinctive deep- and tech-house sound, and pulsing techno without a ripple. The partnership between MUUI and Crossfrontier Audio has been an extremely fruitful one, but this showcase of MUUI at the height of his creative powers is the best output so far. 9/10
Crossfrontier Audio presents MUUI Live is released 4/8/2014