Felix Hall’s Chrome label throws down an ultra-sick new album of elevated, hybridised nite funk and Southern rap-informed psychedelics from NTS regular Mobbs. It follows crucial cuts on the label of ‘90s/'00s Dancehall instrumentals and a bounty of mixtapes that have earned it cult, buy-on-sight status, and is crucial listening if yr into anything from Hype WIlliams to Equiknoxx to Three 6 Mafia.
Five years since Mobbs’ first release for Red Lebanese, and chasing up notable interim productions for A$AP Rocky and Poison Anna, the South-London player comes properly ruff and ready with 14 tracks of coarsely textured, killer industrial noir sound design and cruddy slants on club music for the times. It showcases the artist heads-down inhabiting his sound, chiselling out a definitive statement of murky steez that echoes London's wickedly scuzzy underbelly in 2022.
If you've been paying attention, Mobbs should already be on your radar. The DJ and producer's regular NTS show introed us to his slop of UK-2-US regional dance ingredients - a dim-lit space where Houston's codeine slither exists alongside euphoric D&B intros, industrial noise gristle and drill wobbles. But it was 2017’s ‘OneLord’ mixtape that sealed the deal: 22 tracks of immersive contemporary noir flicker that burned hip-hop tropes into a widescreen burr of subversive dancefloor alienation.
This new album balances thugged-out club tekkerz with high PPM levels of atmospheric pollution and nods to classic Manga soundtracks as he toggles the pressure between stark grayscale and cybernoir brutalism, with panel-beaten mutations of dancehall, drill, trip hop and head-squeezing drug chug that draw on lessons learned over the past half decade. 'Clandestine' lodges itself in the same VHS-faded dimension as Actress or early Lee Gamble, but approaches sampling with RZA's loping, pitch-fucked methodology; 'Rook' fades the light up a notch, driving a pulsing 4/4 kick against low-n-slow synths and ATL hats. Later on, ‘HIT’ submerges vocal loops in overdriven Southern rap drums that take a left turn into Three 6 Mafia-style darkness before fading into the rude dungeon trap of 'Mase’.
The album’s also studded with choice club cuts for the DJs, such as hard driller ‘Rocco’ or even the gauzy acid dancehall grind of ‘Locust’, but we reckon it’s best destined for smoked-out skulking, measured with a beatdown pace and claggy, hungover sort of compression that really comes into play thru immersed listening, seeping from cranky illbient to the distant choral motifs of ‘Trad’ and even what sounds like David Tibet sampled in the lushly occluded closer ‘Laying in the Grave’.
If you can imagine what a fourth generation C90 of Aaron Dilloway played over a Shawty Pimp mixtape might sound like, or if you're into anything on the axis from Actress to Space Afrika to Lil Ugly Mane - this one’s properly electric.