REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
splendid > reviews > 3/26/2003
Muggs
Muggs
Dust
Anti-


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Believer"

Buy me now
On this solo release, famed Cypress Hill beat-maker Muggs drops the DJ from his name -- for good reason. Dust is such an about-face from what I expected that I actually ejected it twice to make sure that it was the right album. Given the two different directions Muggs's day job has taken, I expected either red-eyed hip hop beats driven to their extreme or competent if not inspired metal. Surprisingly, these fourteen tracks push into brave new territory for Muggs, and will challenge his listeners to put the bong down for a minute and pay attention.

The songs that really caught my ears fall somewhere between the trip-hop of Portishead, the Krishna-hop of Oxygene 23 and the dubby-fuzz of Baby Fox. This translates into smoldering beats, lingering female vocals provided by Amy Trujillo, and a dizzying array of background ephemera. The songs, however, cover a range of styles so broad and surprising that it’s difficult to believe this is the same guy who burst into the spotlight with the annoying whine of "Insane in the Membrane". The opening track, "I Know", sounds like a lost Pink Floyd song; it opens with a slow guitar line draped with hovering feedback. Eventually, this is joined by a pulsing bass, a tasteful rhythm and Trujillo’s breathy vocals. The results are stunning.

"Rain" delves into stylish Brit-rock, combining Josh Todd (ex-Buckcherry) with an easy rolling beat and strings, and finishing up with a children’s choir in a move that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. There's even a tribute to Aphex Twin's noise and rhythm experiments ("Blip"). The track that comes closest to Muggs's other work is "Gone For Good", a menacing number that drips with the greasy vibe that Ice Cube strove for but missed on his War and Peace albums. The hip-hop, however, is entirely dominated by numbers like "Morta" -- which, through Trujillo’s vocals, invokes a feminine Nick Cave sensation.

In fact, Trujillo’s efforts here deserve particular mention. Combining grit and grace, her vocals tap into the vibe of such artists as Jane Jensen, Ruby, and Beth Gibbons. If you like those sounds (I’m an absolute sucker for them), Dust will be a must-by.

While the lack of MCs will disappoint the more single-minded Cypress Hill fans, Muggs's use of a broader range of vocalists (including the Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli on the haunting "Fat City") has made it possible for him to expand what he does with his music. In the process, using inventive sounds and solid structures, he has created a damn fine album.



REVIEWS:

12/31/2005:
Ladytron

Brian Cherney

Tomas Korber

UHF

The Rude Staircase

Dian Diaz

12/30/2005:
Helloween

PTI

The Crimes of Ambition

Karl Blau

Rosetta

Gary Noland

12/29/2005:
Tommy and The Terrors

Blacklisted

Bound Stems

Gary Noland

Carlo Actis Dato and Baldo Martinez

Quatuor Bozzoni

12/28/2005:
The Positions

Comet Gain

Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe

Secret Mommy

The Advantage

For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records

12/27/2005:
The Slow Poisoner

Alan Sondheim & Ritual All 770

Davenport

Beaumont

Five Corners Jazz Quintet

Cameron McGill

Drunk With Joy

12/26/2005:
10 Ft. Ganja Plant

The Hospitals

Ross Beach

Big Star

The Goslings

Lair of the Minotaur

Koji Asano



Splendid looks great in Firefox. See for yourself.
Get Firefox!


FEATURES:
Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste probably didn't even know that he'd be the subject of Jennifer Kelly's final Splendid interview... but he is!



DEPARTMENTS:
That Damn List Thing
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo
Bookshelf
Pointless Questions
File Under
Pointless Questions
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo


ARCHIVE:
Read reviews from the last 30, 60, 90 or 120 days, or search our review archive.

It's back! Splendid's daily e-mail update will keep you up to date on our latest reviews and articles. Subscribe now!
Your e-mail address:    
REVIEWS | FEATURES | DEPARTMENTS | BOOMBOX | PODCAST | MISC
SEARCH:
All content ©1996 - 2011 Splendid WebMedia. Content may not be reproduced without the publisher's permission.