5 Reasons Mura Masa Will Blow Your Mind At BTV
There’s a lot happening on this year’s Beyond The Valley line-up – from the hip-hop double header of Schoolboy Q and Stormzy to The Presets’ live return. One of the brightest names on the poster is 21-year-old UK producer Alex Crossan, better known as Mura Masa. Here are five reasons why you want to usher in 2018 with this guy.
A Mura Masa Show Is Always On-Point
There are a few variations on the Mura Masa live show, and we’ll have to see which one makes it to BTV. The multi-instrumentalist favours a one-person band setup, with drum pads, keyboards, guitars and other hardware arranged onstage.
He’s usually backed up by either Bonzai or Fliss, both versatile vocalists and born performers who can stand in for any of the album guests. (Yes, even A$AP Rocky.) You might even hear Crossan himself on the mic. For an idea of how fun and all-out rowdy it gets at a Mura Masa show, check out the London album launch.
Recent Mura Masa setlists have hit all the moments you’d want: ‘Lotus Eater’, ‘Firefly’, ‘Love$ick’ and ‘1 Night’. Perfect material for a New Year’s under the stars.
Could A ‘Firefly’ Cameo Be On The Cards?
BTV has assembled an illustrious undercard this year, with hyped acts including Sampa The Great, B.Traits, FKJ and Princess Nokia. One star not to miss is London singer-songwriter NAO, who released her excellent debut album For All We Know last year. She of course also happens to be one of Crossan’s closest collaborators.
In addition to making ‘Firefly’ together, the friends have toured as a double bill and performed killer covers of Frank Ocean’s ‘Thinkin Bout You’ and Calvin Harris’ ‘Slide’ along the way. A live cameo from NAO would elevate Mura Masa even more, but be sure to catch her own set at BTV too.
He’s Super Versatile In The Studio
Growing up on the sleepy island of Guernsey in the English Channel, Crossan got his musical education from the internet. Inspired by the Gorillaz, video games and martial arts movies, his early productions on SoundCloud weren’t tied to any scene or sub-genre. Instead he channelled everything from James Blake to J Dilla into the Mura Masa sound.
In 2014, while still in his teens, Crossan released the mixtape Soundtrack To A Death on Bandcamp. Its 14 tracks covered trap, instrumental hip-hop and downtempo, with ‘Lotus Flower’ emerging as the underground hit. He then turned in remixes and edits for the likes of Childish Gambino, Foals, RL Grime and even Ed Sheeran.
All that work gradually built to the polished sound of his self-titled debut album, released this year. Inspired by the multicultural energy of London, where he now lives, Mura Masa plays with UK garage, Caribbean drums and African kalimbas, all filtered through a savvy pop sensibility.
Everyone Wants To Work With Him
For a producer in his early 20s, Crossan has serious pulling power. After working with the aforementioned NAO on ‘Firefly’ and Shura on ‘Love For That’, he attracted some big guns for his self-titled debut.
Second single ‘Lovesick’ features Harlem’s own A$AP Rocky (recorded on-the-fly at Abbey Road Studios in London), while elsewhere Crossan pairs up with Charli XCX, Desiigner, Christine And The Queens, Jamie Lidell and his musical hero Damon Albarn. He also co-produced ‘First Things First’ for his BTV line-up mate Stormzy (is another live collab on the cards?) and ‘Seven Months’ with Låpsley. His latest studio companion? None other than disco authority Nile Rodgers. We predict a very star-studded 2018.
He’s A Man Of Excellent Taste
There’s a lot of love for Mura Masa right now on the UK scene, and he’s flexing his influence well. In addition to his own headline shows (he recently packed out the O2 Brixton Academy in London), Crossan was invited to curate a night at Manchester’s The Warehouse Project in October.
The producer put together one of the best line-ups on the 2017 schedule. His collaborators NAO and Bonzai were there, alongside boundary-pushing club acts Girl Unit, Bok Bok, Mumdance, Jacques Greene and Special Request. In other words: You can trust this guy to get you dancing.