A recurring theme of 2012 so far has been to heave great paragraph shaped portions of praise on the blossoming studio partnership between Kassem Mosse and Mix Mup. The duo are long term collaborators, having graced the Little White Earbuds podcast series together as far back as 2009 under the Chilling The Do name, but it’s no great disrespect to Mix Mup in stating Mosse has developed independently into one of the most respected and consistently interesting producers operating on the parameters of house and techno in the subsequent period.
Mix Mup has remained more of an unknown quantity over this time, which has made the material they’ve released together an interesting proposition, not least the stunning not quite an album for The Trilogy Tapes label which showed the pair to have a telepathic understanding behind the mixing desk. Emboldened by the praise for that release and some well placed remixes for the Hivern label and Paul Woolford’s Special Request project, Mix Mup steps out alone with a truly accomplished release for the Mikrodisko label that fully demonstrates this producer should be considered just as potent at menacing, bewitching house music without his more celebrated friend by his side.
Drive By is the producer’s second release for the undervalued Leipzig imprint and demonstrates just as much propensity to pull away from the straight and narrow of house music’s confines as the 2008 release Something More To Play. However, Mix Mup seems a lot more comfortable with crafting epic moments from an infinite palette of minute details, which is demonstrated with devastatingly good effect on the centrepiece of this release, the eight minute under the speed limit surge through thick end that is “Before”. Creeping out across your senses like the soundtrack to a twilight scene from a late 80s Michael Mann film, the track gloopily lollops through eight minutes of pressurised industrial atmosphere, pushing out fuzzy textures that sound recycled and remoulded from a naggingly familiar 80s power ballad over micro efficient drum layering. Sensing the power inherent in that track, on the accompanying “Dub” Mix Mup strips away all but a few remnants of rhythm to leave these fuzzy textures naked and dripping with foreboding tension.
This sensation grows on the flip where “Transition” itches away at your constitution from the start, skipping reconstituted layers of drum edits clattering with a seemingly abstract understanding of rhythm, intermittently deviating to the left at the prompt of stabs of viscous analogue. This track demonstrates that much like Kassem Mosse, Mix Mup is quite excellent at ensuring his productions don’t ever settle into one groove, a sense of jittering discomfort is always around the corner with tracks building in one direction before veering unannounced down some other rhythmic path with enviable ease.