Known for his deft uses of fragmentation and deconstruction, Mohawke presents our fraught cultural moment as set against the quintessential backdrop of late capitalism — a tightrope walking between chaos and the unashamedly euphoric, between the erratic and the bold, the noisy and anthemic, the saccharine with the devastating. The record draws a line where to reflect on mass media consumption and provides with insightful feelings from the insides of the music industry and how modern music taste and perception is currently evolving. But mostly is his artistry that makes you think why we’re miles away from giving music pioneers the place they deserve as people contributing to the bigger social picture.
It has always been like this, as David Foster Wallace captured in his book Signifying Rappers, the relationship between electronic music and hip-hop is monumental and has yet to get its fair share of recognition as both styles meet in the corners of underground clubs, and it is really interesting to see how this affects the music industry, and even social media, today, in different parts of the world. Talking to Hudson is like getting a masterclass in music production, you learn how sounds that may at first seem only structural have a meaning and a more conceptual role than you might imagine. We cannot attempt to study how music evolves in terms of how we socialise through it without talking to those who push the boundaries. His versatility as an artist brings a very specific vision of music as art, as a social movement and as a market.
There's hyperpop, soul, a nod to his years of turntablism, metasampling (sharing vocals from Tasha Cobbs' For Your Glory with fellow Scotsman S-Type), jazz fusion, prog rock, happy hardcore, chiptune, and more, with a formal education in rave, hip-hop, soul, intelligent dance music and glitch. The broad and complex nuance of all these genres and more has become the palette of Hudson Mohawke's sound.
Cry Sugar becomes a testament to its namesake. In the most intimate and melancholic moments, something sweet and twisted emerges. A wry smile beneath the malice. In 2022, we cry sugar.