Sunday, February 14, 2010

Muj is on - 2012 Album Review

By Cassie Batinich

Muj’s debut album, 2012, is a fresh blend of musical genre, a sound that is deceivingly mature and significantly personal. The Turkish-American duo created 2012 in a little over a year, jamming out and recording in their Brooklyn apartment/studio, occasionally calling on the help of musical friends to add to the creativity.

While overall this is a pop album, it hits on many elements. From country western style vocals, rock, dance pop, electronic and more, it is meant to be a combination of styles, creating an original persona.

The album opener is a mix between rock and soulful alternative music. Called “Elastic”, this song features vocals that sound “Auto Tuned” and electronic; its most catching feature is a synthetic arrangement that reflects the track name and the kind of trip-hop that Radiohead peppered over Kid A.

“Blue My” is the most interesting track. Through each verse, the guitar follows carefully behind the vocals, like a long shadow, and then forges ahead near the end, peaking at a smooth blues jam-out that welds the song together.

The thread connecting each song links directly to the duo’s self-production and sampling of almost every instrument that ended up on the final record. Muj’s masterminds: Emre Atabay and Allen Hulsey worked to perfect the arrangements and symphonize each harmony on this album. Yet, the end result sounds naturally submersed, embracing each genre explored, begging a second and third listen.

A lot of that compliment has to do with track placement. One example is how the last three songs set one another up by carrying over distinctive beats that transition from one, to the next. “Nothing’s” vocals are slightly twangy. It combines a country-western feel with a 21st century rock song. The beat then trickles onto the opening cords of the electro-punk “Technoholic”, which then sets up the final song’s tone. “Time of Our Lives” touches on dance experimentation, and is one successful attempt at mass appeal on 2012.

The sound of Muj is thoroughly New York. They are trendy yet crafty. 2012 embellishes on European dance nostalgia and pop rock by combining some electro-punk elements and traditional guitar sounds.

While it is complex, the bare bones of this album: the guitar playing, the lyrical contribution and the beat make it a solid effort and a well-received debut album. A band that we will likely be hearing a lot more of, the talent and experience these two Berklee grads bring to music, is something we cannot wait to see on a stage.

2012 can be purchased now on iTunes and CD Baby, concert information and dates to follow.

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