Mansur Brown: NAQI Mixtape
Out on twenty fifth November
Pre-order from Sister Ray
By combining his NAQI EPs from earlier this 12 months, the multi-faceted Mansur Brown has created a wonderful mixtape that takes us to the dancefloor and again residence once more. Louder Than Battle’s Gordon Rutherford opinions.
There’s lots occurring in NAQI Mixtape. Just like the Puerto Rico trench, it’s an entity of inestimable depth. Veering from flamenco guitar to atmospheric electronica; pristine jazz to ambient area; it’s received all of it occurring. The creator of this formidable assortment is the uber-talented, classically-trained, Brixton born-and-bred, Mansur Brown. A veritable prodigy, Brown doesn’t confine himself to standard boundaries. While his music is distinctly guitar-centric, in the case of classification, it has the span of an albatross.
Brown’s third album (kind of), NAQI Mixtape is a multi-faceted, intricately-layered beast: an assemblage of songs which were lovingly crafted. This can be very clear, polished with out being slick, with each word laid down with utter precision. Consequently, it delivers towards Brown’s goal to make his music really feel rejuvenating. Like a Radox bathtub, these sounds revitalise and invigorate as they wash throughout you.
To date, I’ve been referring to NAQI Mixtape as an album. Nonetheless, while it’s offered as such right here, in actuality it’s two discrete our bodies of labor – two EPs – which have been welded collectively into one attractive and handy bundle. Intriguingly, while they have been launched inside a few months, every EP has a really distinctive really feel, with each coming from fairly completely different locations. However that, each are trademark Mansur Brown. At no level is the listener in any doubt that the 2 sides of this document are the product of the identical artist.
Presumably one of the best ways to think about them, Volumes 1 and a couple of of Brown’s NAQI EP collection, is to see them as one could an evening out. Quantity 1 is the membership. It’s uptempo and danceable, albeit in a lissom, unfrenzied method. Quantity 2 is the afters. The comedown. It’s chilled and laid again and significantly extra introspective. The temptation when confronted with two aspects of an artist is to match and distinction. Nonetheless, in the case of Mansur Brown, that’s not a straightforward dilemma to resolve. It’s not a case of 1 facet being superior to the opposite, fairly one will inevitably be higher suited to a sure temper.
Inevitably, comparisons will probably be drawn between Brown and people different upcoming hep cats who’re creating new, thrilling types of jazz, notably Duval Timothy and Oscar Jerome. There are parallels with each. NAQI Mixtape has that sense of one thing barely otherworldly, a faraway sound bleeding by means of some form of ethereal veil that Timothy has. On the similar time, his guitar work has the identical sharp precision as Jerome. However hell, there’s room for all three of those skills.
The album opens in bewitching vogue with the hypnotic loops of No Means. Brown’s dazzling flamenco guitar mixes gloriously with dubby beats and electronics on this Center Jap-tinged invitation to bounce. It’s adopted by My Luck, which brings extra entrancing loops and waves of electronica. A guitar line penetrates like sizzling needles piercing by means of shards of ice. It’s a profitable composition that carries a scrumptious distinction of the scorching and the glacial.
Rise is equally thrilling, with a grimy bass line that spars playfully with Brown’s guitar. Nonetheless on Quantity 1, Fever delivers one thing of a departure, with Brown laying the guitar down and utilising his flute to bestride these Burial-influenced beats. Layer-upon-layer, the monitor unfolds with guitars (they aren’t fully banished) and electronics including unbelievable depth and complexity.
The title monitor, Naqi, is the album’s pivot. It opens Quantity 2 and we will instantly detect a change of temper. Translated in Arabic, the title means ‘pure’ and that makes absolute sense once you take heed to this pristine tune. The penultimate monitor, Contact, has a rippling heat and intimacy that appears like being wrapped within the golden fleece.
It’s not all excellent, after all. Quantity 1’s jazzy Me and You is an fascinating concept that piques our consideration, but it surely doesn’t actually comply with by means of. It’s an identical story for Quantity 2’s Path. There’s no denying that Brown’s fretwork on this monitor is scintillating, however finally when it concludes, it leaves you with the impression that it was merely a work-out for his elastic digits versus a fully-fledged track.
Irrespective of. There’s sufficient occurring throughout this assortment to make it value investing in. In truth, the album’s stand-out monitor, the ten-minute magnum opus and album nearer, Meikai, is well worth the worth of admission alone. Instantly, we’re drawn in by advantage of the truth that it’s the one time on the gathering that we hear voice. It’s echoing and atmospheric: a mix of the gothic and Chicago home. Because the monitor develops, we all know we’re going someplace somewhat completely different now till, by the tip, it feels prefer it has encompassed all the NAQI Mixtape into its ten minutes. Choc-full of fascinating diversions, it’s a composition to lose your self in. Most fascinating is the introduction of a harp (I assume) two-thirds of the best way by means of, which appears to steer us into one thing of an epiphany. The beginning of a brand new daybreak.
There’s a sturdy argument to say that NAQI Mixtape carries essentially the most intricate, technically-gifted guitar work you’ll hear wherever this 12 months. However Mansur Brown has the attention to understand that his virtuosic abilities aren’t sufficient on their very own and has, subsequently, mixed these with a spread of different expressions and sounds. Collectively, it makes for a heady, wealthy potion that takes us all the best way to the dancefloor and again residence once more. In some ways, it’s the best mixtape then.
Mansur Brown is on Bandcamp. He’s additionally on Instagram, Twitter and Fb.
All phrases by Gordon Rutherford. Extra writing by Gordon will be present in his archive.
Gordon can also be on Twitter as @R11Gordon and has an internet site right here: https://thedarkflux.com
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