Alex Crossan a.k.a. Mura Masa has gifted us with his first full-length collection of beats featuring a who’s who of collaborators. Reigning in at the ripe old age of 21, it’s obvious Crossan is precocious in his ability to deliver music that not only sounds good, but effortlessly captures the zeitgeist of now.
Mura Masa’s more pop-sounding singles sit squarely in tropical house territory with Crossan’s use of warbly marimbas and steel drums featured prominently on “1 Night,” “Love$ick,” and “What If I Go?” featuring Charli XCX, A$AP Rocky, and Bonzai, respectively.
Other tracks are a little eclectic and elegantly toe the line between playful EDM and understated hip-hop. “NOTHING ELSE” featuring Jamie Lidell riffs like a Prince tune. “All Around the World” featuring Desiigner is certified laid-back trap. “Who Is It Gonna B” with A. K. Paul is one part modern soul, one part art rock.
Despite the heavy collaboration on the album, my favorite tracks are the ones written by Crossan himself. With his original material, you get a much better sense of who he is as an artist, and the answer is: he’s pretty emo. “Messy Love” instructs us to “Take me, break me, use me for your messy love.” I see it as a metaphor for the producer’s role in music too. “Give Me the Ground” follows in the romantic vein as it opens with an antique-sounding guitar and features Crossan auto-crooning, “Struggle when I’m gone / that’s all you deserve / my dear.” Co-written with Damon Albarn, “Blu” is about as charming as a song about sadness can be. Lastly, let’s not forget that the most popular single from this album—“Love$ick” feat. A$AP Rocky—was also co-written by Crossan and turns heartbreak into pure dancefloor magic.
Mura Masa’s debut LP proves upbeat enough for a summer barbeque, yet introspective enough for heads-down productivity. I’m looking forward to seeing where his music takes us in the future.
Notable Tracks: “Love$ick” | “Messy Love” | “What If I Go?” | “Who Is It Gonna B?”