About Hudson Mohawke
Hudson Mohawke exists in a rare space in music. He is simultaneously ubiquitous and guarded, recondite and unmistakable. Though his style adapts to whatever musical form requires it, his distinctive sonic hallmarks have made him an irreplaceable part of the soundtrack of our times.
Where producers tinker with genre boundaries in forward-thinking nightclubs and bedroom-based D.I.Y. setups, the Glasgow-bred Ross Birchard operates like some H.R. Giger-esque architectural terraformer by contrast. The nature of his misfit genius came with a cutting sense of humor and distrust of convention.
Releasing Polyfolk Dance in 2008, Mohawke’s 2009 Warp full-length debut Butter revealed the DJ/producer’s unique vision. A DMC champ in his turntablist teens, his affinity for Just Blaze and DJ Premier beats shone through on the project, as did his exposure to rave records. His synthesis of disparate threads into a pop-wise context foreshadowed the then-imminent dawn of collectives including Soulection and PC Music. 2012’s revelatory TNGHT cut “Higher Ground” put him on Kanye West’s radar, with credits on Cruel Summer, Yeezus, The Life Of Pablo, and Pusha T’s critically acclaimed My Name Is My Name. By the time 2015’s expansive follow-up Lantern appeared, he had grown into one of pop and rap’s most sought-after studio wizards, touching notable album cuts from the likes of Drake, Lil Wayne and Miguel.
Mohawke’s continuing work never failed to sound both of its time and consistently on the verge of new euphoria. His range of projects expanded to include television, film, and even games including the Watch Dogs 2 soundtrack Ded Sec, all of which ingrained him deeper inside pop culture.
Marked mainly by two distinctive studio albums and a few singles, Mohawke’s deceptively small discography of releases belies the depth and breadth of his true catalogue. So much of his material seemed lost to the ages, a few low quality rips of tracks and mix fragments inevitably found their way around trading posts on the Internet, but most was kept out of sight.
The recently released mixtape-style compilation Big Booty Hiking Exhibition digs into Mohawke’s artistry and subversive wit while tethering his previously unreleased material to the work he’s done behind the scenes. The contents here lay out an ornate map of sounds that comprise his amalgamated style. Among the gifts found on Big Booty Hiking Exhibition are the Roc-A-Fella funk of “Spruce Illest Bumper” and the space age boom bap of “Herberts.” Via the overdriven blurts of “Animo” and the compu-served “Macanudo,” Mohawke’s methodology binds everything together into a defiant hip-hop framework.
Recently, Mohawke has released Poom Gems, the second installment in a series of Summer 2020 releases via Warp Records. The unconventional nature of this release is hardly lost on Mohawke, but to him it seemed counterintuitive to do it any other way. None of this would make sense coming from anyone else, but as becomes clear when stepping back to behold his opus of a catalogue in full, Hudson Mohawke operates on a grander scale than the rest.