On Skulltaste, Mux Mool’s 2010 full-length debut for Ghostly International, Brian Lindgren explored every corner of the beat scene, knitting together all of his influences into one intricate fabric. The genre-absorbing producer covered a lot of ground; his myriad of talents, evident in his ability to cover almost every style under the “bass music” umbrella in a single album, was exciting for sure, but he had yet to carve out a sound of his own. Skulltastic showed great potential, though it seemed obvious after that release that if Lindgren decided to hone in on just one of his strengths, he’d be onto something pretty special.
After taking some time to reflect on the pitiful state of the economy, Lindgren narrowed his scope, and the result is his most refined and cohesive release to date. Rather than proving what he can do—anyone who’s been paying any attention to all his remixes, collaborations, and solo work knows his capabilities by now, too—here, he shows where he’s most comfortable: on Planet High School.
While Skulltaste doled out 20 tracks over 80 minutes, his sophomore record is half as long but twice as confident, most evident in playful, Oizo-like standout “Cash for Gold”. Lindgren has mellowed out quite a bit, dropping the search and destroy for more careful production with buttery smooth tracks like “Brothers” and “Ruin Everything”.
There’s a lot that’s familiar here. We’ve still got crisp, instrumental hip-hop and video game-esque beats. But we’ve also got headier funk, some synth nostalgia akin to Ghostly labelmate Com Truise, and a healthy amount of filthy bass. Lindgren takes the time to play with these sounds, deconstructing rhythms and melodies and building them up again.
It’s when he backslides into trying to take on too much at once that the album gets a bit weak; “Get Yer Alphabets (Guns)” is a jumbled mess of sounds that don’t quite work together, interrupting the otherwise natural flow of the album. But despite the occasional sonic overload, Planet High School is a solid album and clearly a step in the right direction for Mux Mool.
Essential Tracks: “Ruin Everything”, “Cash for Gold”