Loosely based on the 1976 sci-fi film ‘Logan’s Run’, Runner is Muta’s (aka Cliff Harris) debut album out now on King Deluxe. While at times Muta produces fractured and bass-heavy textures with glitchy and wonky synthlines over stuttering rhythms in line with some of the harsher Brainfeeder sounds, it’s this combined with his strong sense of melody that makes his debut an interesting listen.
Harris knowingly starts off with the disjointed, choppy 1-2 of ‘Cursed Words’ and ‘Chipped’. Although they provide context, they are the most difficult songs on the album. Before long the album moves into the woozy and far gentler ‘Elixir’, hinting at Harris’s explorative, fun-loving side, playing with the audience’s expectations.
Even when he lays down his straightest hip-hop rhythmic pattern on ‘Lock Jaw’, it’s hard to think of this as club music – Runner is too brooding and layered – and not overly keen for your approval. Which isn’t to say it is distant or unfriendly, but Harris is obviously interested in working with his own set of boundaries and only giving the listener so much to latch on to.
With his more melodious moments such as the surprisingly tender ‘Sleepshop’ co-existing with harsher textures and his restless and playful production, Muta will surely be a project that creates even more rewarding and unique listens in the future.