Mustapha Mond is a music producer from Boston. Keeping Secrets is the producer’s first release that puts an emphasis on downtempo hip-hop beats favoring simplicity and an array of smooth synth tones over unnecessarily complex instrumentals.
‘Keeping Secrets’ starts off with a bit of familiarity calling out to a wide array of sounds from the twinkly background noises and bells. The vocals are beautiful, recalling the ethereal falsetto vocals of Jonsi of Icelandic band Sigur Ros in the form of beat oriented electronic music that makes for a really nice combination. The vocals are pretty much unintelligible, whether they are actually saying anything is unclear to me but the way they are used more like an instrument or a separate melody more than an actual lead vocal. Undoubtedly a standout track and one of my favorite electronic songs I’ve heard this year that continues to progress in this dreamy direction with the second track, ‘Latching’ which features some reverse reverb. ‘Pills’ forces the listener out of the mellow sound of the previous tracks and into a distortion driven wah style that gives the track a little edge and momentarily brings the EP out of the dreamy slumber that the rest of the tracks do so well in inducing. The beats on the track are a sturdy backing to it’s otherwise chaotic nature giving it just enough structure to where it doesn’t feel sloppy while giving the illusion of chaos and non-uniformity. ‘Portland’, the closer, keeps a perfect mix of deep low end that is sure to please the bass heads out there and the presence of orchestral ambience giving the track a ton of depth and some great sounds to explore and re-explore.
The stand out elements of the music is not so much the beats but the gorgeous layers of synth sounds that carry the tracks on a bed of cloudy tones. Where Mustapha Mond really shines is not only in his ability to make relaxing instrumentals but also in his ability to create these soft airy sounds and dreamy background textures while making it all work together really well with the help of the tight production aesthetics. There are a few points were the beats are just a tiny bit too high in the mix which can be distracting; I feel like this could easily be corrected with some slight adjustments but overall it’s nothing too big.
Mustapha Mond’s simplistic beat making is complimented by his atmospheric and smooth sounds that makes for a really easy listen that doesn’t get old with repeated listens. Keeping Secrets is a solid beginning effort that maintains a cohesive sound throughout while having enough variety to keep you listening.
Overall rating: 8.2
Favorite Track: Keeping Secrets, Pills
Recommended: Dreamy relaxing instrumentals
Released: 11 February 2012