Beach Hotel De Haan
On Mix Mup's first outing on meakusma, he once again delves deep into abstracted, bleeped-out house music. His characteristically playful and quirky sound has gained him a loyal following amongst those looking for grooves that are as smooth as they are chopped up. So here come three tracks aimed at adventurous dancefloors and one soulful, ambientish track to top it all off. Mix Mup's gentle and funk- and soul-induced madness is his claim to dance music freedom.
For a few years now, Mix Mup has been in cahoots with Kassem Mosse, releasing the highly acclaimed collaborative effort MM/KM on The Trilogy Tapes. He has furthermore released his unique brand of off kilter club music on Hinge Finger and Mikrodisko.
This new 12inch sees him develop his style even more, playing around with space and structure. Not straightforward, but ever keen on showing process, these four tracks are all beautiful house music miniatures that surpass readymade consumption, their unspokenness being their loudest plea.
Cover layout by Francine Midori
outstanding character house ep by mix mup for belgian quality label meakusma
Momente einzufangen und zu wiederholen ist eigentlich ein unerfüllbarer Wunsch. Mix Mup gelingt das zumindest musikalisch. Die Tracks seiner neuen EP rumpeln und klackern voran und fangen scheinbar improvisierte Musikmomente ein. Das Vorgehen weckt Neugierde auf den nächsten Klang, die nächste trockene Snare, die nächste windige Synth-Linie, den nächsten Effekt und schenkt dabei gleichzeitig Tanzlust. Das Ambientstück „De Balkons“ rundet die House-Analogien mit Meeresrauschen und anderen Strandgefühl-Feldaufnahmen ab und macht Lust darauf, das Ganze nochmal zu hören und die Aneinanderreihung von Impulsen wiederholen zu lassen.
Supreme leftfield House adventures
Techno is well into its 30s, so it’s to be expected that it might be getting creakier in the joints—or, to think of it in architectural terms, that the paint would be starting to peel, the pavement beginning to crack. One of the most exciting developments in dance music over the past few years (at least for noise fans) has been the slow growth of a style that celebrates the aesthetics of disrepair. See, for instance, the banged-up sides of labels like L.I.E.S. and the Trilogy Tapes.
When the Leipzig artist Mix Mup (Lorenz Lindner) remixes other artists’ work—often alongside Kassem Mosse, in the tersely named duo MM/KM—the effect tends to resemble barnacles upon a battered hull. The outlines of the original are all but obliterated beneath a craggy layer of busted drum sounds and quavering synthesizers.
On his new solo EP for Belgium’s meakusma label, Lindner’s broken approach sounds more focused than ever. This is minimal techno in the classic sense, after the fashion of STL or Thomas Brinkmann. Very little actually happens here, just a handful of drum-machine patterns sounding bent out of shape and running perilously out of sync. A lumpy background rhythm might have come from an Institut Für Feinmotorik performance for “empty” turntables prepared with rubber bands and bits of tape. But it’s a strangely lyrical track, too, animated by a glowing half-melody that tosses to and fro—not unlike a rope of algae rolled this way and that in the receding tide.
By Philip Sherburne
For someone with a discography that reaches back to 2002, there hasn’t exactly been a deluge of material from Lorenz Lindner under his Mix Mup alias. I think many would agree that we have fellow Leipzig-dweller Kassem Mosse to thank for a more recent flurry of activity following the much vaunted MM/KM 12” the pair worked on in 2012, but considering the open-floodgate approach many artists seem to take these days Lindner appears to have exercised a considerable amount of caution in how much of his music gets disseminated.
That may be slowly changing what with the recent (and thoroughly excellent) Skip Intro single for The Trilogy Tapes being briskly followed up by this outing for Meakusma, a label that should be a natural fit for the leftfield bump and grind of Lindner’s style. “Seaweed” undoubtedly moves in the same subtle, curious corners that tend to be Lindner’s preferred stomping ground, using a swung groove as a structure around which submerged hits of percussion and dislocated synth warbles can scatter themselves. It’s minimal machine music of the highest calibre, with the unearthly pad tone that lingers in the background providing a very necessary glue to bind together the individual elements and give a real sense of immersion to the piece.
The drums are falling in off-kilter ways once more on “Wellpappe”, although everything feels much more open here as the more recognisable percussive hits rumble and tumble over each other. Bear in mind this is not an exercise in loud and grotesque distortion as is so en-vogue these days, but rather a thrilling jaunt through non-linear arrangements that never seem to repeat themselves as they move through an unhinged and slightly jazz-inflected soundscape.
There is a more discernible thrust to “Plastic Bag” that places it in the more accessible realms of the record, although that’s not to say it’s standard by any means. The acid touches that pepper the track shed a little melodic light into the mix and help bring some rhythmic focus to those wayward beats. On the surface it feels like a leftfield house track but when you start to sink deeper into the nuances of the Mix Mup sound you realise how naturally skewed everything is. A live jam quality lingers over everything, but it equally comes on more developed than the limitations of most one-take efforts.
For all the inherent surreality there is a strong sense of cohesion about Lindner’s work, and it’s only with brief EP closer “De Balkons” that a distinctly different approach is taken (in this case a somewhat exotic melodic refrain surrounded by field recordings of some kind or another). While the diversion is welcome, there is something so limber and expressive about that ubiquitous Mix Mup drum style that you never tire of it. Even if the technique is the same, the patterns shift and the groove accents vary so as to keep you constantly engaged. Not many can lay claim to nailing such a defined sound and keeping it interesting, and of course there needs to be room for variation in any artists work, but for the time being Lorenz Lindner is doing just fine where he is.
Mix Mup has been on a roll since a 2012 mini-LP with Kassem Mosse brought him to wider attention. It helped that by then his style was fully formed: a strange, cryptic take on house music, melodically unusual and rhythmically devious. 2013’s After The Job for Hinge Finger showed that he could make big gestures in this way, albeit deeply eccentric ones. This EP for Belgian experimental label meakusma finds the producer on subtler form.
Opener “Seaweed,” a superb slice of deep-sea funk, is the record’s oddball apex. Its snippets of percussion and glutinous synths float past like weird-looking creatures in the abyssal murk; in the low-lit midpoint breakdown, it’s easy to forget we’re in a house track altogether. “Wellpappe” doesn’t hold together quite so well, its warped melodies barely audible behind a clodhopper kick. By the time “Plastic Bag” comes around, lifting us from the sea floor, it’s a welcome change. The bubbling synths and fidgety tin-can percussion gesture at Mix Mup’s brighter side, though the track remains a thoughtful deep soak rather than a source of easy thrills. As the record wraps up with “De Balkons,” a puzzling snippet of street noise and synth noodling, Mix Mup leaves questions teasingly unanswered.