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Mophono’s Halftone Society – Sinicism EP review

Artist: Mophono’s Halftone Society
Title: The Sinicism EP
Label: Bastard Jazz
Genre: Broken Beat/Nu Jazz
Format: 12″, Digital
Buy From: Juno Records, Juno Download

Beats are right at the heart of this release on Brooklyn’s Bastard Jazz label. This San Francisco producer found his feet under his DJ Centipede alias, putting on the weekly “Change The Beat” parties in his hometown. It’s under his Mophono’s Halftone Society moniker though that he’s really starting to make a big impression, as this quite brilliant and surprising EP proves.

“Hunger” is the perfect way to get a taste of his flavour. Putting the punchy and live sounding drums out front in the mix, he shows off his ways with a beat almost in the same way a jazz quartet might allow the drummer to drop a solo. He lets the sampled brass hits subside and allows himself space to create a drop-dead devastating drum break that will have listeners everywhere undoubtedly comparing him to DJ Shadow (the vibe of Hunger is indeed very similar to the classic break in the middle of “Building Steam…” from Endtroducing).

Elsewhere, “Bumps” keeps the winning combination of huge drums and sampled brass, this time putting some sax centre stage and creating a lot of fun in the process. “Sinicism” again “gives the drummer some” in timeless jazz style, dropping down to an accomplished solo before switching rhythms and turning into a perfect hands-in-the-air hip-hop jam. Tru Thoughts and Ninja Tune star Natural Self delivers a remix that concentrates on this section of “Sinicism”, adding some tasteful sub-bass amongst other things to really bring out the bopping qualities of MHS’s original. With a couple of drum-only edits included with the single, you’re perfectly placed to marvel in this man’s seriously impressive way with a beat. Get in early, there’s going to be a lot of buzz this producer very soon.

Review: Oliver Keens