Considering that it’s been summarily rinsed in the last few months by any DJ lucky enough to have a copy, it’s about time that Mosca’s long awaited Square One EP finally sees a release. Luckily it hasn’t lost any of its considerable charm, and on its digital version is backed by a formidable roster of remixes from his fellow Night Slugs associates.
Both of the originals here, ‘Square One’ and ‘Nike’, are built from fundamentally simple elements in the manner of say, Joy Orbison – rattling percussion simultaneously referential to house and garage, deftly sliced vocal snippets, technicolour synth work and the ever-present rumble of sub-bass. Yet the comparison ends here – in fact, using the same basic ingredients Mosca manages to turn Orbison’s reductionist ethos entirely on its head. B-side ‘Nike’ is ample evidence of this – along with his luscious three-parter ‘Gold Bricks, I See You’, which appeared on Fabric’s Elevator Music compilation, it manages to incorporate both compositional and sonic complexity into a superbly focused dancefloor track. Beginning life as slow-paced, synth-led hip-hop, three minutes in it seamlessly shifts gear into a taut house/garage hybrid, shot through with dubby synth stabs straight from a Basic Channel 12”. It’s this ethereal side that gradually come to dominate the track, culminating in a brief wash of ambience before a final blast of incandescent funky that burns briefly before tailing off, leaving a warm afterglow in its wake.
The same post-everything, anything-goes ethos currently upping the ante across the bass music spectrum also manages to elevate ‘Square One’ itself to far more than the sum of its parts. Its real success is in managing to incorporate elements from a whole host of different genres without diminishing the end result - the heavily reverbed chord stabs that drift through the track’s backdrop reveal a close affinity with both Berlin dub techno and the earlier variants of dubstep. Closer to the fore, its characteristic descending bass and loose tom hits are as close to grime as to UK house, placing Mosca alongside Kode9, Cooly G and Roska in creating a distinct hybrid sound: darker and more oppressive than funky’s big hitters, looser and more danceable than most mainstream dubstep.
As one of FACT magazine's top ten producers to watch in 2010, Mosca's recorded an excellent mix, which is available to download here.