Track By Track: Mugwump – Unspell Lp
You may have noticed we're admirers of Geoffroy Mugwump. He laid down a rather fine R$N Mix for us last year. You can listen to that here in case you missed it (shame on your if you did).
Over the years Geoffroy has released on such fine imprints as Kompakt and R&S and remixed The Asphodells and… Bob Sinclair no less. Just a cursory glance at his back catalogue illustrates the diverse nature of Mugwump's approach to production, combining a variety of influences from 80's pop, dub and new-beat with disco and techno – let's call the overarching flavour 'mutant disco'.
With all this history it's surprising that he's only just getting round to releasing his debut album Unspell which emerges next week. It's an accomplished piece of work so we asked Geoffroy to talk us through the release one track at a time.
Let's get it on as he talks us through it…
After They Fall ft. Jeremy Shaw of Circlesquare
Season : Wildfire season.
Colour : Brigh Red.
I've been a massive fan of Jeremy Saw's early outings on Trevor Jackson's Output label in 1999 till the latest album "Songs About Dancing & Drugs" on !K7. Besides being a great producer and vocalist, Jeremy is also an in-demand visual artist (with past shows at MoMA PS1, Toronto's Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, SAMSA or at Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum and at the Julia Stoschek Collection in Dusseldorf), mainly playing with the grey-area between science and mysticism, his work explicitly documents drug experiences, catharsis, and transcendence, which helped to lay the ground for Gaspar Noé 's"Enter The Void" movie when he collaborated with him … His entrancing vocal perfectly fits the album opening.
Doobie shine trouble ft. Raphael Lee
Season : Monsoon
Colour : Grass Green
I met Raphael in the late 90's, when I was working on My "Moving House" compilation series at the mythic Crammed Discs label. He is now an amazing guitar wizard from the Brussels rock scene, active under several pseudonyms and local bands and mainly infuenced by Eastern music, Indie-Rock, Blues, Drone and Psychedelica. He 's delivered a magnificent and psychedelic Blues ballad for the Mugwump album and is, from now on, the front-singer and guitarist for the Mugwump live band.
Halo ft. Luke Jenner (ex-The Rapture)
Season : Summer
Colour : Yellow Sun
Luke Jenner needs no introduction, being the frontmant of killer NYC band The Rapture. Now embarked in a solo career after the band's recent split, he's been working on collaborations with Tigersushi's Joakim and will appear on the forthcoming newCassius album on Ed Banger. Introduced to me by Throne Of Blood's boss and good friend James Friedman (after the release of the Mugwump EP on the NYC label in 2010), he has written this rather spiritual song about the «circle of light », which is also the album's biggest (and brightest) pop moment. This is the album's 2nd single, with forthcoming mixes by Friendly Fires' Jack Savidge and myself together with DC Salas (who's been working with me on the Mugwump live show)
Season : Hurricane
Colour : Ocean Blue
This dark and slow arpeggiated instrumental is totally focussing on my New-Beat influences, looking to bring an update to the sound in the same vein that, I think, did "Nothing Without You", released in 2009 on Kompakt.
Season : 2
Colour : Desert Island 4
This slow piece of electronic funk with cool strings is the only album number I've laid my vocals on (in Parlando mode) which are about memory loss and, thus, remembrance.
Until You're Worth It ft. Mungolian Jet Set and Ost & Kjex
Season : North American cold-wave
Colour : Green Snow
"Until You're Worth It" quite encapsulates what this album's about, with the lyrics from Päl Nyhus of Mungolian Jet Set and Tore Gjedrem from Ost & Kjex about commitment, failure and hope of self-improvement.
Breakdown ft. Sami Morpheus Birnbach (of Minimal Compact)
Season : 3
Colour : Break of Dawn Red
This is a cover from of the most sought-after songs from Belgium's proto-Newbeat era by cult electronic artist and EBM/Newbeat/Post-Punk Belgian pioneer, Mickey Mike (better known as Snowy Red) who made this haunting, electronic song in 1981. A big fave from my adolescent years in New-Beat clubs, "Breakdown" has been covered here in a rather different perspective, together with my longtime friend, Sami Birnbach (also known as DJ Morpheus), the singer from 80's Israeli post-punk/punk-funk and indie-rock/new-wave cult band, Minimal Compact (nameched as a huge influence by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy). Sami also lives in Brussels and worked at Crammed Discs in the late 90's where he helped to get me a first experience as a compiler/A&R.
A Quarter Heart Left
Season : Vernal Equinox
Colour : The Colour of Spring
A piece of melancholic Kraut simplicity, spiced-up by the Johnny Marr-style guitars from Brussels multi-instrumentistStephan Fedele (also playing on 'Until You’re Worth It' and 'After They Fall'). Stephane plays the bass and the 2nd guitar in the Mugwump live band.
School's Out ft. Von Spar
Season : Last Season
Colour : Green Hope
German Krautrock/Disco formation Von Spar have just released the excellent "Streetlife" Lp on Cologne's Italic label to critical acclaim. The band's Philip Janzen (also tour musician for The Field & Owen Pallett) has laid these lyrics and vocals to the album ‘s closing song, which could be maybe described as a mix of Suicide with The Asphodells.
Mugwump's Unspell https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/id948288947will be released on 23rd March, pre-order your copy here.