Born in rural Minnesota and now based in Brooklyn, leftfield hiphop / electronic producer Brian Lindgren made his first appearance as Mux Mool back in 2006 on Moodgadget’s ‘The Rorsach Suite’ compilation, but it’s most likely to be the more recent inclusion of his track ‘Night Court’ on Ghostly International’s 2008 ‘Ghostly Swim’ collection that’s made his most significant impact to date upon a wider listenership. Two years on from ‘Ghostly Swim’, this debut album as Mux Mool ‘Skulltaste’ sees Lindgren offering up fifteen tracks that lean distinctly towards neon-synth drenched, boom-bap hiphop groove much in the same vein as Mochipet and edIT that frequently recalls a blissfully wide-eyed DJ Shadow given a Sega Megadrive chiptunes injection. Indeed, while there’s certainly the odd moody vibe, there’s very little in the way of real darkness to be found on ‘Skulltaste’, despite the visceral-sounding title. Opening track ‘Ballad Of Gloria Featherbottom’ sets down the predominantly bright aesthetic from the very outset, sending spiralling, neon-hued analogue keyboard arpeggios arcing over a crunching backbone of clicking, headnod hiphop rhythms that display all the requisite post J Dilla flutter as stately sounding analogue synth melodies trace out a tentative path beneath.
‘Hog Knuckles’ meanwhile sees the same boom-bap laden glitch trajectory continuing as eerie, minor key descending flamenco guitar fragments flit back and forth between huge, woody drum samples, handclaps and sudden bursts of video game samples, while the distinctly edIT-esque ‘Wax Rose Saturday’ easily represents one of the biggest hiphop-centred highlights here, introducing Lindgren’s own pitch-shifted vocals into the mix as frigid-sounding, glitchy rhythms make their brittle way beneath bleeping synths and tearing bursts of DSP-treated noise. While for the most part the contents here see Lindgren sticking pretty closely to the leftfield hiphop side of things, there’s also the odd unexpected venture towards the dancefloor, with ‘Enceladus’ and the aptly-titled ‘Crackers’ setting the controls for streamlined disco-fuelled house, complete with sampled string flourishes. While it’s an unexpected touch, it proves to fit perfectly amongst the overriding atmosphere of retro-analogue synthetic soul that Lindgren manages to vividly capture here.