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  • Filed under: Review
  • 06/28/2013

Mugwump "Boutade"

It might be premature to bestow classic status on Mugwump's balmy and winsome "Boutade." It's only four years old, but for a handful of diverse admirers, including dance-music chronicler Bill Brewster, cheeky Mancunian selector Mr. Scruff, singular London talent Andrew Weatherall, and International Feel Records, the verdict is in. For the latter at least, the passion for "Boutade" is so strong that the label is now re-releasing it, flush with an extended and techno-leaning remix, a more meditative dub mix for the digitally inclined, and another previously limited release, "God Is Gracious."

"Boutade" first hit the market on Ewan Pearson's sparsely populated Misericord label in 2008. Nonetheless, despite that limited initial exposure, the song's cinematic, jazz-boogie fusion has endured. The soundtrack to a sun-soaked stroll along an international boardwalk, the track is a swirling tide pool of orchestral string arrangements, dramatic timpani bombast, and Detroit-inspired bass that chugs along while enjoying the calming massage of spaced-out atmospherics. It's textbook Balearic goodness that's also exemplary of the Mugwump sound, a disco-techno mish-mash that's become the trademark of Geoffroy "Mugwump" and Kolombo (a.k.a. Olivier Grégoire).

Updated to provide a more utilitarian alternative for DJs and fans of all things sprawling and hypnotic, "Boutade" is thickened up with the dancefloor in mind on Mugwump's "2013 Techno Redux." As sturdy kicks, sharp handclaps, and rhythmic digital giggles unfold, each component of the track is given room to stretch out and poke around. The bassline evolves with heavily acidic undertones and electro-funk grit, while strings that were once well-behaved streak and skitter every which way, having been tweaked until almost they are unrecognizable. A mid-song hush teases fans of the Balearic anthem with the return of the melody in its original form, but it's not what it seems, as the track's second half is actually a musical tug of war where each variation struggles to play the lead role. The digital-only dub mix delivers what it promises, a stripped-back interpretation that focuses on "Boutade"'s newer components—heavier drumming, a brawny beat, and acid tweaks—while toning down the playfulness between the redux and the original and simply offering a straight-ahead, late-night tool.

Though "God Is Gracious" has received less fanfare since it surfaced earlier this year on the Treasure Hunting compilation for Parisian label Astro Lab, the song's inclusion here is a worthy continuation of Mugwump's flare for the exotic. The Belgium-based production duo has described its style as "a space odyssey into trans-genre music," and "God Is Gracious" goes a long way toward solidifying that claim. Eastern-tinged, analog, and with a new-wave electro vibe, the track is a moodier counterpart to "Boutade," especially when its haunting synths creep into the mix. Showcasing a darkly cosmic funk of sorts, the song adds balance to its high-spirited counterpart.

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