Artist: Momu
Title: Momu
Label: Looq Records
By: Nick Williams | 20 March 2006
  1. The Dive
  2. Sunsicle
  3. One
  4. See It Thru
  5. Donkey Rocket
  6. Antietam
  7. Mavericks
  8. Torque
  9. Watership Down
  10. This Is Momu
  11. Hydergine

Momu "Momu"Momu "Momu"

Out Now on Looq Records

When you reflect back to the spawn of the progressive breaks movement a few years ago, you can't help but think of the incredible releases that duo of JD Moyer (aka Jondi) and Mark Musselman have produced. Their sound is unique and timeless, fusing the best elements from breakbeat, trance, and progressive to create landscapes of sounds that still manage to capture the essence of what this music is all about… dancing. From their long stretched roots in San Francisco's progressive and breakbeat scenes, it was only a matter of time before they decided to get sassy with their established sounds and create something a bit fresh and innovative. Their first collaboration together was a remix for Jondi & Spesh's 'No Harm' for Loöq Records; a soaring masterpiece over what have become timeless "Momu-breakbeats". From their first artist release on Loöq records, back in 2001, they have solidified themselves among an elite crowd of producers, joining Hybrid, Phil K, Andy Page, Burufunk, Grayarea, Way Out West and Luke Chable, as champions of the progressive breakbeat sound.

Now, nearly six years later, Loöq Records is releasing their self-titled artist album, and the first thing that pops into my mind, is "IT'S ABOUT TIME!" It is a collection of old and new, as it combines the acclaimed hits of the past, and some brand new, previously unreleased material. While I wished it would have happened years ago, I am thrilled to be able to analyze the evolution of the Momu sound in perspective. Six years changes people, and with the amount of sound technology advances, coupled with the ever-changing "cool" factor in dance music, it would be hard to bring together a fluid collection of music.

It is no surprise that they commence the album with their stunning rework of 'The Dive', as this is probably the track that they are best known for. Dreamy soundscapes in unison with reflective synth work make this a perfect track to set the stage for the album. For the release, they boosted up the bass and tweaked the sounds a bit more for home listening, as the original was a radio edit made for the music video that Jondi’s wife created for MTV. Momu have it up for download on their website if you are interested in seeing a visual take on this dreamy tune. ( Right off the bat, you lose yourself in the somber vocals of Alysoun Quinby, and succumb to the journey that you are about to take by listening to this album.

It is a journey to a different time and place, and that is one of the greatest aspects of this album. The fact that nearly all of us have heard some or all of these songs previously enables us to travel back to whenever and wherever we heard these before. The reflective nature of the Momu sound, with their inviting, pensive synths and expansive cerebral pads with velvety smooth, almost simplistic breakbeats facilitate that journey. That mood is only continued with 'Sunsicle' another re-release from the Bedrock Breaks label, and prepares you perfectly for the first of their new material on the album, a collaboration with Grayarea, entitled 'One'.

'One' is a definite rock influenced track, led by with guitar and bass guitar synths, yet manages to keep the Momu feeling perfectly moving forward with chunky breaks and a stunning landscape with sick effects work throughout. It is a song that entices you to loose yourself with each chord, and from hearing it numerous times at Jondi and Spesh's weekly night in San Francisco, Qoöl, I know it works every time on the dancefloor. By the end of it, the whole floor is rocking out!

A string of new material follows from there, starting off a bit harder in nature, with 'See It Thru' building and building until it finally proclaiming undying love, and 'Donkey Rocket' blasting off in big-room breaks style, and as it erupts in flames, eerie space inspired sounds violate the breakbeats, bringing the trance back into it. Although this is a newer track, the feelings and energy that they bring into this make it timeless in nature. 'Antietam' follows, and features some "ghostly" vocals sampled from the battlefield, along with a brooding moving bassline and trippy, dreamy synth work.

The standout track for me on the album is 'Mavericks'. It combines a familiar Momu-break with dub influenced effects and bass with disturbing, sharp synths. It is definitely a voyage of a song, and as Jondi and Mark describe it, it was one of their greatest collaborations on the album. Ideas flung back and forth between the two with ease, and there are a plethora of ideas in this, as new sounds are introduced at every turn.

'Torque' brings us deeper at first, with a deep bassline combined with lower tempo breaks, and I imagine I am underwater with very deep reverbs and watery, bubbly sounds. The tempo increases with filtered drums and a high pitched synth to introduce drum and bass influenced drums and effect craziness. This one is quite a bender and then go right back into the deep bass from before. It was liked I was torqued to the breaking point, and then relieved.

Two more previously released songs appear on the album, 'Watership Down' and their first artist release, 'This Is Momu'. They fit in well with the sounds and feel of the new material perfectly. The fact that all of their previous material has stood the test of time is a testament to that sound; the lush pads and intertwining melodies, a virtual kaleidoscope of dance music as a whole.

To round off the album, an introduction towards what may be the future of Momu's sound in brought to the table, and how fitting is it that it is our last track. 'Hydergine', the favorite off the album for Jondi, is definitely more anthemic in nature, and I can see this being played as the last track of the night in numerous clubs across the globe.

While I don't consider this album to be dancefloor aimed, it is a great CD to play in times that you want to take yourself on a little 60 minute journey into your mind. Momu piece together their 6-year history to form an ethereal landscape of the soul. Mark describes the album as a "therapeutic journey to a not so far away future", and I say it is more a journey to a not so far gone past. Hell, I think it goes both ways, which is why Momu's sound is and will be timeless.

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