Being the recipient of the unholy amounts of hype the English press loves to dish out must be oddly flattering and scary as hell at the same time. Joy Orbison may well have felt both of those things when his debut release midway through 2009 was hailed as nothing short of sheer musical brilliance. It would be enough praise to potentially leave some producers forever trying to scale the heights of a bar set way too high for them from the outset. Joy Orbison, however, has shown that not only was he worthy of the attention he received (maybe save for quite so many superlatives) but he has more than enough chops to back up a blinding start with a well of equally impressive releases to follow. His remixes of Jose James’ “Blackmagic” and Four Tet’s “Love Cry” both showed that the producer could mine a wealth of melodies and crucial dance floor pressure, whilst his “J.Doe/BRKLN CLLN” twelve proved beyond doubt the original success of “Hyph Mngo/Wet Look” was more of a comma rather than an exclamation point in his career. “The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow” then follows the familiar pathway of warm melodies and R’n’B vocal swatches that have thus far defined Joy Orbison tracks, though both of these elements are underpinned by an almost faultless production style propelling these fairly standard tropes towards the upper echelons of the genre.
Hype can be a funny thing. Why are some tracks hyped while others slide under the radar? For one of 2009’s most talked about tracks, look no further than “Hyph Mngo” (hype is even in the name, sort of). Forthcoming on one of the hottest labels around, canned by numerous DJs, and even the subject of an entire column on Pitchfork, the hype surround “Hyph Mngo” has been immense, to be sure. But does it measure up?