Monday, 2 January 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #3 - MC Mabon "Strict Meter"

A new album from MC Mabon that came out in September, eh? Just goes to show how much music I let slurry past me in the last couple of the years. MC Mabon has been one of my heroes since fin de millenium days of Y Tystion, Wales' answer to Public Enemy. (I don't remember what exactly PE asked Wales; but it was probably something important.) If you've not heard any of Y Tystion before now, try "Shrug Off Ya Complex" from 1999 - and even if you've heard Mabon's solo debut "Mr Blaidd" ("Mr Wolf") before, stick it on later today. It majests!

Probably my favourite quality of Mabon's is his impatience, both with the world and his own output. This new album is only 16 minutes long but has 8 tracks - the longest clocking in at 2:25 - and is packed with musical idea and fidgets. Ideas about disasters on the edge of the world and in the middle of our everyday lives. And there's such a torrent of words and thoughts and even his guitar hand sounds like it's working overhard as he tried to blurt out all his ideas about humans and the cosmos before the next idea comes along. And I think he could probably do more with the production, but he doesn't have the time.

So he keeps mostly to guitar, a bit of treated piano and a hint of hip hop on "Black Plumes of Smoke". Bit of a shame, because his earlier stuff when he had a bit more time and/or money was heroic stuff.

His opener, "The Futility and the Greatness", draws a couple of brackets around all the moral chaos scrolling across the bottom of the breaking news industry. Big breath at the beginning, then "the horror of honesty and goodwill", which sounds like a dirge, but Mabon's always so malevolently cheerful about penning these odes to nihilism. The closer "Volcanoes" is about how we might be at the end of the line and how the threat of planetary collison is bad enough without folk kicking folk when they're down. Volcanic impatience pops up as a dark seam on the album, as though Mabon transcribes onto Mammy Gaia his own irritation with what's going on around him. "Fucking Beauty" has a lovely Pixies guitar solo on it - and a bit of titular profanity is always fun, eg "Hotels and B'n'Bs are Shit".

His music has the feel of a lot of comic books - cheap to make, hurried and full of ideas, disappointedly pointing out the doomed choices humanity makes and its cosmological naivety. Or maybe I've not been reading the right comics?

In short, Mabon is overlooked, but that seems a comfortable place for him, behind the skirting boards of pop culture, feeding on mosses and slow-witted insects.

Rating: Humanity out of Options.

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