MGUN, Blunt Run

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[Berceuse Heroique]


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Too often we assume a producer reflects his or her city’s musical history. It’s a major selling point to mention someone is from Chicago or Detroit or has just moved to Berlin from London, even if their music is not especially connected to house or techno or whatever respective genre. As MGUN, however, Manuel Gonzales reiterates why we jump to such conclusions. His output has represented a microcosm of what people love about electronic music from Michigan. He has put his name to rushing, astral techno; snug, dusty house shufflers; and on his scuzzier tracks, even nodded to local noise legends Wolf Eyes, or at least their sense of desolation. On Blunt Run, Gonzales pays vivacious tribute to his city’s pre-techno primordial soup: the nebulous sound of “The Electrifying Mojo,” Jeff Mills as The Wizard, “The New Dance Show,” and “The Scene.”

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But first, the title track. “Blunt Run” is a fine slice of minimalist techno, centered around a pounding kick, skittering hi-hats, and a burrowing, echoing tunnel of distended synth tones. Simply put, Gonzales wastes no motion: the track does what it says on the tin. “Laser Jam,” meanwhile, is ridiculously fun. Maybe slot it next to Delroy Edwards’s “Sprk Tha Dust,” because it has the same sense of being a crusty VHS party relic fed 2013 steroids. Between its shrill, naive melody, lumbering funk bass line, robo vox (“let me see you moonwalk”), and the mandatory, ubiquitous laser zaps, it totally feels of another era. One of my associates called it disposable, and he’s not entirely wrong — it’s a short track, built for rowdy events. For the time being, though, good luck resisting it.

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