For our seventh release we present Muta, aka Cliff Harris, a music and philosophy student honing his craft up in the Colorado Rockies. He began writing his own creations on the guitar six years ago, but the discovery of the synthesizer a short time later was a game changer; he quickly began tweaking with with the very fabric of his songs.
Responsible for the amazing cover artwork is BC artist Laura Bifano. Which, along with some of the tracks within, is loosely based on a certain classic 70’s sci-fi film.
Deluxe prides itself in bringing you frequency-rich productions that demand you upgrade your sound system immediately, and Runner is no exception.
On his first full-length album, Runner (artwork above), Denver’s Muta (a.k.a. Cliff Harris) draws inspiration from the ’70s science-fiction flick Logan’s Run, a tale of a young man who flees his dystopian home to avoid his scheduled termination. Now, we know Logan’s Run is a cult classic, but let’s be real for a moment. The music from the film is a distractingly trite melting pot of cliched futuristic noises and rudimentary synth sounds which, in reality, matches up well with the movie’s stilted acting and goofy special effects. Thankfully, since the film’s release in 1976, electronic-music production has come of age, and Muta uses various newfangled technologies to craft a nine-song album with a decidedly 21st-century aesthetic. “Lock Jaw” is a lurching, synthesizer-laden tune with a hip-hop feel that recalls the music of artists like Lazer Sword, but also uniquely employs sundry sci-fi sampling, including noises that easily could have been taken from conversing Star Wars droids.
Despite it being a little weird when someone you yourself have watched come up and blossom becomes a point of reference/inspiration for other, even younger producers that process of influence is a perfectly natural occurrence. And whilst the Colorado based Muta might share certain aspects of the work of a young Ninja Tune signed beatsmith, his debut mini-album, Runner for the Canadian outfit King Deluxe, manages to drawl and bump in all the right places. Loosely based on the 70s film Logan’s Run, Runner takes those experimental sci fi like crunches and underpins them with a healthy injection of white noise and the acidic bleeps – with that approaching working best over the two part ‘All Impulse’.
Compared to Lazer Sword by XLR8R, Muta resides in the same temporal sphere but his work here feels more like a direct descendent of library sound work and experimental layering than any kind of energetic hyphy hybrid of US rap. He also makes some of the wonkiest (let’s knowingly re-embrace the term here) beats like ‘Elixir’ and ‘Misfit Toys’ where the rhythm isn’t the most constant thing. Like recent turns from people like Slamagotchi on the recent Beatitude compilation, the beat is lurched at and the snares/clicks/claps are snatched at before the whole thing falls out of time.
Honestly, ‘Runner’ feels like a debut that’s pretty conscious of its surroundings. There’s a similar bombast in beats like ‘Elixir’ that you’ll find in the work of people like Nosaj Thing and Hudson Mohawke but there are some tested ‘beat’ clichés evident in the drum work plus early on there’s a couple of total non-linear beats that feel like they’re a little impotent (if you don’t fully welcome the ADHD quantity of switch ups and beat repeats); but the slow flump of ‘Elixir’, the proto thump of ‘Lock Jaw’ and the playground swirl of ‘Carousel’ and ‘Misfit Toys’ all display a very clear and present talent; and a uniqueness.
OB’s favorite Canuck collective, King Deluxe, is at it again, this time with the label’s seventh release, Runner, by Muta. The Denver-based* beat head dances between glitchy cacophonies and much subtler, simple melodies with the dexterity of a 15th level thief-acrobat. Muta begins his journey with noise, devolves the sound before evolving it, all the while revolving it on the wheels of steel. Of course, i like rhyming, but that should do nothing to detract from this beat manifesto.
Today’s track, “Lock Jaw,” is a perfect embodiment of the entire album, starting with abstract blips and bleeps before a solid beat and accompanying groove establish themselves. Before you know what’s happening, we’ve gone from esoteric to beat-tastic, all within the space of a few bars. Impressive work, if you can get it. And what do you know? You can. Just follow the links, sucka.
And as with all things King Deluxe, they’ve added some incredible artwork by local talent, in this case, one Ms. Laura Bifano. You’ll probably notice her 70s sci-fi film inspiration in the cover art, as well as thematically in some of the tracks.
*i’m fully aware that Denver is not in Canada, being both 1/4 Canuck myself AND fully cognizant of where our national borders lie. It’s not my collective. Take it up with those cats.
The good people at King Deluxe Records have once again, without warning, dropped another experimental gem. They say don’t judge a book by it’s cover (in this case designed by BC’s Laura Bifano), but in this case you could probably be forgiven for doing so. Runner is action-packed, pixelated synthesizer fury. The album’s inspiration comes from cult classic film Logan’s Run which, set in the year 2116, details a society where execution is mandatory on one’s 21st birthday and Runners are those who attempt to flee such destiny. Deep stuff. If you listen to the 9 tracks with this basic plot line in mind, you may just find your imagination running wild (pun intended).
All fantasy aside, this is crumbling glitch music set to a backbone of deep, crushing drum patterns and brainy melodies. Colliding waveforms that seem to disintegrate on impact and ever-present bass swells hold your attention while tracks develop in dance music fashion: creating a foundation, peaking and then raining down on you with fat drops and kaleidoscopic effects. Like previous King Deluxe releases Madison Square Gardner and Jay’s Odyssey,Runner displays a very competent understanding of tempo and rhythm and doesn’t easily lend itself classification. Let’s just call it critical mass hip hop.
Philosophy and music student Cliff Harris, aka Muta‘s “Runner” LP makes up King Deluxe’s7th release thus far. Straight from the opening track its is immediately evident that this man likes his circuits dusty and noisy, hence the 70s sci-fi feel of the album music and cover art (the latter illustrated by Laura Bifano). On most of the tracks, Muta doesn’t resort to superficial melodies or easy rhythms, but rather focuses on sound and texture providing a collage of various influences of electronic music including chip-tune, a lot of the Brainfeeder instrumental stuff and there’s a little early Warp in there too but undoubtedly the end result is quite unique. As an album “Runner” is also very cohesive and it almost feels like the artist is trying to tell a story. It isn’t until the last two track of the album that the music winds down a bit in order to ponder on the experience as a whole, which adds to the conceptual feeling of the album.
- Red Cup
Got a gift in my inbox the other day from the guys over at King Deluxe regarding their latest debut release from Denver student, Muta entitled, Runner. The release’s closing number, ‘Sleepshop’, formats and rides the wave of glitch, space, and relaxation. Bubbly and dreamy bass for the ear drums to beat off of.
Muta laces glitchy signals and spare, digitized textures with warped, sputtering rhythms on his (or her?) debut EP, Runner. As of the writing of this review, little is known of the mysterious act called Muta, except that they’re on a very cool Canadian label called King Deluxe (see alsoVaetxh and Option Command) and seem to be obsessed with 70s sci-fi standard, “Logan’s Run” (the EP’s title and songs “Carousel” and “SleepShop” all reference the picture).
From investigating the sounds on Runner, we’re pretty sure Muta descended from a race of underwater robots obsessed with creating music based on heavily corrupted acid house, trip hop and dubstep data files. You can hear it in the glitchy delivery of pixelated melodies, the fractured strut of the LP’s beats and the smooth, submarine quality that infects all levels ofRunner’s sonic architecture.
Despite it’s warped aquatic charm, Runner isn’t anxious for your approval. The first three songs are the most challenging tracks on the EP, and are sure to drive away casual listeners. But trust us. You need to stick with it. Runner gets really cool at “Lock Jaw” (track 4) and continues on a killer plateau through to the album’s climax, the effervescent, strutting “SleepShop”.
Canada’s King Deluxe has no issue curating unique tapes by one of a kind music artists, and their seventh release by Denver producer Muta (real name Cliff Harris) is just one more in a line of pristine releases. Runner is a glitch eccentric, bass heavy project that thrives in it’s unique ability to be atmospheric as well. Instead of letting all of the albums gorgeously warped and distorted sounds blare in the forefront, Muta allows for layering in which some the glitchy sounds you hear will be washed underneath another. The albums loose tie to the 1976 cult sci-fi film “Logan’s Run” could also be selling point for some, but Runner easily distinguishes itself from the more linear feel of early electronic music that the film employed. Tracks like “Carousel” show Muta mixing subtle bleeps with warped bubbling bass, and distorted synth to make for a brooding glitch aesthetic while pieces like “Chipped” present a more energetic atmosphere by way of heavy bass and a complexed array of effects. Listening to the project as a whole you may also pick up on the album’s pensive state that lingers deep below layers of effects, synth, and bass, which makes the album much more of an explorative journey in a glitchy soundscape. For his first full length album Muta has done a fantastic job in creating an atmospheric and complexed tape that will transfix the listener. Check out the track “Lock Jaw” and if Runner is fits your auditory preferences feel free to grab it from King Deluxe here.
King Deluxe, label canadien, est bien chanceux d’accueillir le petit prodige Cliff Harris aka Muta. Attiré au départ par la guitare, l’étudiant du Colorado a vite changé de bord en choisissant de tapoter sur un synthétiseur. Un choix qui s’est avéré très prolifique puisque “Runner” pourrait être le fruit des incontournables figures révélées par les labels Brainfeeder, Warp ou encore Ninja Tune. Inspiré par la SF des années 1970, Muta adapte les sons de l’époque à ceux du 21ème siècle. En jouant sur les textures, les mélodies, les bleeps abstraits, les basses solides et la drum pétillante, Muta a fait de “Runner” une histoire pixelisée, futuriste, rythmée et pleine d’action. Un bel album glitch expérimental construit avec goût et habilité.
Getting me on the tip of my seat !
Bleep blob qounq !
If you wanna get on your parents nerves?
This is the one !
- Ian Breno
Bass-heavy composition, with synth textures inspired by chiptune, and with the pace and rhythm of dub music. You could say the new drop from King Deluxe caught me by surprise, and I will openly say that I have not yet finished digesting it. And then today, King Deluxe celebrates its first year as a record label, releasing two sets back-to-back, with properly triumphant album art by HR-FM. It feels impossible that King Deluxe is only one year old, and with solid shining releases hitting one after another from the label, it’s a moment well worth celebrating!
Tangy clipped beats from Canada’s Muta, unleashing his debut album on King Deluxe. Woozy, pitch-slipping synthlines offer something slippery to grab over fractal rhythms and acid-juiced chiptune rhythms, part Skwee, part Mortal & Chemist-style discombobulation.
Very much emblematic of the King Deluxe aesthetic, Runner by Muta (Denver-based music and philosophy student Cliff Harris) twists and turns through thirty-four, seizure-gripped minutes of synth-infested landscapes with a smattering of collapsing hip-hop rhythms in tow. For his full-length Muta debut, Harris draws inspiration from the 1976 sci-fi opus Logan’s Run, a film about a young man fleeing home to avoid scheduled termination (hence the album title).
“Cursed Words” sputters and convulses awake before jerking to attention with some stumbling, post-Autechre-ian rhythms. Without pause, lo-fi splatter of blips and bloops enters the picture in “Chipped,” after which the Muta style comes into clearer focus during “Elixer,” “Lock Jaw,” and “Misfit Toys” when swirling synth patterns and downtempo funk rhythms roll out with greater control and coherence. Smothered in hiss, the two burbling parts of “All Impulse” carve jaunty pathways through hyperactive rhythmscapes, while hints of acid and dubstep sneak into the wobbly “Misfit Toys,” perhaps the most club-friendly of the cuts on offer.
In one sense, the film turns out to be a good fit for Muta’s sound, even if his wonky hip-hop is decades removed from the stale sci-fi treatments that root the film so squarely in the ‘70s. It’s the film’s futuristic vibe that proves the fertile ground out of which Runner grows, with Muta’s nine-track collection a fast-moving exercise in retro-futurism heavy on synthetic micro-flutter.