Mix Mup is often mentioned in the same breath as Kassem Mosse. This isn’t entirely without good reason, and for a pair of longtime friends and collaborators, perhaps it’s even to be expected. Their mini-album on The Trilogy Tapes is regarded as a modern-day classic by those in some circles, and its popularity has certainly encouraged the automatic mental association of MM and KM among listeners. As anyone familiar with Mix Mup’s solo productions will readily attest though, it’s a wonder the Leipzig artist has remained more or less under the radar for this long. For over a decade, Lorenz Lindner has crafted a delightfully diverse string of 12”s. It’s been in the last few years that he has really excelled, most notably with the woozy grooves and clattering intensity of After The Job for Hinge Finger in 2013, or in the potent, rippling dub textures throughout Drive-By on Mikrodisko the year prior.
His has been a modest output in which genres congeal, and with each track boasting the magnetism of sheer economy. He’s the type who says a lot in the span of a few minutes, crisply expressive without being overly laconic. For his latest offering on The Trilogy Tapes, Mix Mup is once more working within this practice. There are no fluffy or overdrawn slow-burners here, no provocation to languish in stagnant repetition – and there really couldn’t be, considering the longest cut sits just north of six minutes. Still, there’s every sense that his satisfyingly chunky leftfield house has been given enough room to breathe.
The title track and opener, “Skip Intro” begins with a disorienting crackle, the sort that’s so subtle it might make a person question whether their headphones needed replacing. This settles into a shuffling drum pattern layered with scruffy feedback, bright tones forming the backbone of a sultry and almost Asiatic melody. Perhaps because it’s employed so sparingly, that melody toes the line between pretty and haunting in precisely the way that makes Mix Mup tracks so effective.
Next is the compact and inoffensively sweet “Sequoflec.” Between a stuttering kick drum; a gentle, periodic stinging of hi-hats; and a curious whistling sound over top, it evokes the chilliest of lazy, autumnal mornings. This feels more like an interlude than anything else, but one which is remarkably atmospheric given its short runtime. On the flip, “IE” is subterranean, with spacious claps punctuating a slapping, wonky swing. Fragmentary effects, like the striking of warm keys or a sliced-up and indistinct vocal, come as a surprise without feeling unrehearsed, and these many components combine to make the track a sublime contradiction: heavy while still being utterly molten. The tenderly convincing tenor sax-like noodling and intricate rhythmic pattern of “Curtain Scene” make it a cozy conclusion, its neat packaging acting almost as a foil to the three, somewhat rougher preceding cuts.
If there is a salient feature of Skip Intro, it’s Mix Mup’s fluency in moulding groggy, unpolished, and unsettling music. In no way does this feel like an addendum to his work with KM; rather, it’s an exemplar of Lindner’s considerable talent as a standalone producer, and a welcome addition to TTT which will likely convince listeners of the same.
A1. Skip Intro
B2. Curtain Scene