GB 141CD GB 141CD

A genre-defying Afrofuturist manifesto from Uganda. Producer, dancer, and choreographer Faizal Mostrixx's singular vision of East African electronic music is a lush sonic tapestry of polyrhythms, modern dancefloor styles, amapiano, Nile Basin ceremonial chants and Pan-African field recordings. A stalwart of the explosive Kampala electronic music scene, Mostrixx has collaborated with the Nyege Nyege collective appearing at both the African and European editions of their festival. Mutations is Faizal's second full-length album, following close on the heels of his acclaimed EP Transitions (2022). Mostrixx is first and foremost a dancer, but one who has found time to absorb a full range of global electronic music styles along the way, after a solid grounding in older sounds. Musically, his expression builds first on a Ugandan heritage, particularly its varied rhythmic patterns and the specific style of music played at the kadodi, an ancient circumcision ceremony. These antique local rhythm patterns are balanced with influences from further afield: downtempo, deep, and Afro House elements melded with sub-heavy dub, footwork and amapiano, East and South African polyrhythms, modern urban styles, and age-old chants from the Nile Basin. Horizons are further expanded with field recordings from Uganda, Congo, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, some by Mostrixx and others, from the 1950s, taken from the International Library of African Music. They are intricately interwoven into the sonic fabric of the record. This cultural Pan-Africanism should not obscure the fact that Faizal Mostrixx is very much an artist who traces a trajectory of his own, one that transcends the bedroom-producer ethos and dancefloor-ready functionalism of much contemporary cutting-edge electronic music. Mutations is above all a piece of work that feeds on the creative friction between different musical forms spanning various African regions and histories, but with the artist's own character and interests very much out front. The record features Lesothian artist Morena Leraba in imperious form on "Loosely", chants by the influential Ugandan singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Giovanni Kiyingi, and a restless exploration of rhythm and tempo throughout, whether on dancefloor bangers like "Tunes of the Jungle" and "Back to Tanzania" or the more downbeat "Afro Aliens". "Onions and Love", the opening track, is built around a beautiful acapella by Kebenesh, a lady who chops onions at the restaurant of the Alliance Ethio-Fran├žaise in Addis Ababa, whom Mostrixx recorded in an impromptu studio. What he manages to do to superb effect throughout, in a series of mostly four-minute tracks, is push outwards to create a sense of epic yet still intimate space -- further proof of the fruitful feedback loop of choreography and music that makes this record so enjoyable.