Artwork by Joseph Ford
[Crime City Disco]
Every artist uses aliases for different reasons. Martin Skogehall, though, has explicitly used his for the same thing many people do: to give voice to a particular sound inside him: really intense techno, in the case of MRSK. Which is weird, because Skogehall is far too creative (or perhaps just restless) to hammer away at the same old sound for years, the way some producers do. Only this reason — and a good dash of Swedish loyalty, of course — can explain him reigning in the frenzied MRSK sound just enough to fit onto Crime City Disco, a label dedicated to “deep, slow and disco influenced” house. Along the way, he connects the improbable dots between house, techno, disco, and rave. Which would be an admirable, if only he’d managed to do it in classier fashion.
All soaring strings and loose guitar-bass, “Gunwar” is heavily indebted to disco, but it sports a tough percussive foundation which hints at Skogehall’s usual predilections. Mostly though, these traces are masked by the track’s jaunty, honkytonking piano, which is loads of fun if a tad forgettable. It sports a similar percussive substrate, but “Amblin’s Roar” shows just how different things can be with a new overlay. Unfortunately, this one leans more towards the shrill, loopy side of rave via an orchestra of bleeps and wails. A string-heavy breakdown does manage to connect the aforementioned dots again, albeit briefly, but its thrills are far too fleeting to balance out the rest of the duration. As usual, Skogehall’s refusal to stay in one box is admirable, but on this occasion, it feels like he might have done better sticking to a more well-oiled gun.