Thursday, August 12, 2010

Bunny - Mothboy


Ad Noiseam Records.

SCQ Rating: 69%

Ever since his anonymous demo first landed on Ad Noiseam’s desk, Simon Smerdon (better known as Mothboy) has been an institution for the renowned German imprint, lending his deft trademarks to LPs and remixes alike. So while Bunny, Smerdon’s third Mothboy release, is anticipated for all his glorified fusions, it’s also embraced as a final chapter. Eager to branch off into new musical projects unburdened by his moniker, Smerdon has chosen to retire the Mothboy name for the foreseeable future, leaving Bunny as a generous parting gift.

You don’t need to step far into Bunny’s world to feel Smerdon’s restlessness. Besides an atmospheric opener, ‘Move (Too Close)’ kicks proceedings off with rapper Equivalant dropping rhymes over Mothboy’s signature deep bass, while ‘Motion Control’ takes on verse/chorus structures with the aid of Sezrah Sylvan’s vocals. Alongside more familiar instrumentals like the ominous ‘Cala Nova’, this variety gels rather well, sequenced like a nocturnal mash-up split between going clubbing or walking the streets alone. Even if you prefer one type of Mothboy track over another, there’s no denying ‘Won’t’, which finds Smerdon putting jazz touches on classic trip-hop plodding.

Restlessness creates an excitedly unstable symmetry for Bunny’s first half, but spirals into uncertain experiments soon after. It’s difficult to fault Mothboy with some of the misfires that follow, like ‘Johnny Nemo’, which would be promising if not for Akira The Don’s grating presence. Yet so much of Bunny’s back-end feels tossed together like a clearance counter, from vacuous beat exercises (‘Glow’) to a misguided attempt at a rock song (‘My Love’). When the record rebounds late with ‘Cala Martina’, forming raw guitar and organ around bold break-beats, and ‘Subway Song’, a track that hammers home how well Robert Conroy’s vocals would’ve sounded throughout, these tracks almost feel like missed opportunities. Bunny, like past Mothboy efforts, displays no shortage of skill and charisma but it’s a shame the critter got so bloody self-destructive half-way through.

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