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Mura Masa - Mura Masa - LP Vinyl

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Alex Crossan’s debut album is a love letter to multicultural London that’s informed by the 21-year-old musician’s insular upbringing and abetted by a number of high-profile guests.On his self-produced debut, Crossan works the city’s spidery Tube maps into an exhilarating electronic framework where the conflicting sounds of the modern-day Tower of Babel can harmoniously coexist. His interest in the city’s cartography is literal: “Messy Love” opens the album with the sounds of a city bus and deposits us at the stop for New Park Road, near Brixton. From there, Crossan traverses the various ends of his adopted home while also cruising through the genres that have filled its inhabitants’ headphones for the past few years, from big-beat hip-hop (“Nuggets”) to airhorn-assisted calypso (“Love$ick”) and harp-infused UK garage (“What If I Go?”). Some of his musical tourism is more tongue-in-cheek: He ventures as far as the South Pacific on “1 Night,” which adds a steel-drum melody to a sample from “Tahiti,” a kitschy piece of 1960s exotica by the Italian soundtrack composer Piero Piccioni, and sends Charli XCX bouncing about like a drunken reveler in a tiki bar.

With so many high-profile guests along for the ride—including A$AP Rocky, Desiigner, Christine and the Queens, and Damon Albarn—there’s a risk that the album could become a top-heavy exercise in A&R. But Crossan never leans too hard on his hired talent as he pieces together house and hip-hop beats with sounds like marimba, steel pans, and kalimba.

Born an outlier himself, he spent most of his youth making music in a remote bedroom on the very white, insular island of Guernsey (population: 60,000), where the main local industries were finance and tourism and his nearest venue was five hours away by boat. The internet was his way out: He built his reputation on SoundCloud, and low-profile releases like 2014’s Soundtrack to a Death collection and 2015’s Someday Somewhere EP led to a production credit on Stormzy’s Gang Signs & Prayer. Like Disclosure’s Lawrence brothers, who began making music before they even reached clubbing age, Crossan is proof that going to raves isn’t a prerequisite for aspiring to start one. Being cut off only piqued his curiosity for all things electronic.
A1Messy Love3:44
A41 Night3:24
A5All Around The World2:44
A6Give Me The Ground1:07
A7What If I Go3:15
B2Nothing Else!3:25
B4Second 2 None4:10
B5Who Is It Gonna B4:58

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