Very occasionally you stumble across a digital album on one of the many internet music sharing platforms that just stops you in your tracks. Mahatma X 'A Mobtown Suite Vol 1' is a case in point. If ever there was an album crying out for a vinyl release it's this one. Step forward Home Assembly to put matters right.
Mahatma X was formed in 2013, initially as an instrumental beat-tape project by producer MALK in St. Andrews, Scotland. He would later be joined in Philadelphia by Jhana Gumption as live drummer and Jahred as MC. The group mixes live instrumentation with samples to create Hip-Hop reminiscent of its golden age.
Spanning 17 instrumental tracks over two sides of wax 'A Mobtown Suite Vol 1' has the flow of a beat-tape, with tracks bleeding into one another, going off at right angles, or colliding bumper to bumper. Deep and soulful. Phat, jazzy and funky as! - and all delivered with a bucket full of punk attitude. From the Adderley sampling opener 'come thru' to the flutes and breaks of 'Mahatma and the White Devil', flutes (again) and warm, gospel organ of 'thishustlegame' and the spacey synths and deep, dubby bass-line of 'worddagawd' you know you're in for an exhilirating ride.
But then you begin to notice other elements that seem to elevate this record above what is now a fairly crowded genre. Notably, there's the languorous, stoned guitar refrain on 'We Live in Bawlmer, Baby'. And it's there again amongst the snares and samples of 'Bright Moments' and the sun-kissed 'Mad Poetik'. All evidence that as well as being skilled in dealing dope beats, there's also a sensitive musician at the heart of this record, most addictively realised in the sweetly melancholic smoke and woodblocks of 'Gloriaaa'.
It would be almost too easy to summon up the ghost of Dilla or the oddball sampling techniques of Madlib as comparisons but they're undeniable - albeit passed through a hazy filter.
For fans of Dilla, Madlib, DJ Mitsu, Onra, Stones Throw, Jazzy Sport