Genre-Bending

I’m here right now to talk about two very unique producers who constantly break new ground, and are incredibly important to electronic music as a whole: Hideki Naganuma and Hudson Mohawke.

Hideki Naganuma

He’s best known for scoring the video game Jet Set Radio, along with numerous other Sega titles. He occupies his own special place in music, because literally nobody sounds like him. Seriously. He’s the Japanese Fatboy Slim, except more talented. He can easily churn out textured, funky, catchy tunes, and he has an incredible knowledge of music in general (as evidenced by his masterful use of samples).

Before we go any further, here’s one of my favorite songs, called Fly Like A Butterfly. It’s indescribable. The Concept of Love, Funky Dealer, and Oldies But Happies are also fantastic.

And now, the reason why I admire him so much:
Throughout the history of music, there have been two categories of artists: those who break new ground, and those who fit into a genre. Both have their merits, but I’m going to focus on genre-bending here. As music continues to evolve, artist obviously try new things, be they in sound or style, and sadly, that doesn’t always equal accessibility to a mainstream audience. Bob Dylan was one of the first major artists to use an electric guitar, and he was praised for it. The fact is, if he hadn’t actually known how to make good music with an electric guitar, it would have been a gimmick. That being said, gimmicks are fine, but the novelty quickly wears off. Hideki Naganuma is so amazing because he actually creates accessible music with unconventional techniques.

Image

One of the few pictures of Hideki – from his Twitter

I’ve talked to him a few times on Twitter, so I shot him a question, and he promptly responded!

Hudson Mohawke

Better known as HudMo, Hudson Mohawke is all over the place. He’s signed to Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music (he also helped produce Mercy), he’s half of the experimental trap group TNGHT, and he’s produced for big names such as Drake, John Legend, and Pusha T.

HudMo DJing at a party in Glasgow

HudMo DJing at a party in Glasgow

His music doesn’t follow any discernible pattern, although he’s miles ahead of the experimental trap pack. Actually, it’s kind of impossible to describe, so check out 100hmAll Your Loveand Structure. This should give you a pretty good idea of how well-rounded he is.

I admire HudMo for one reason and one reason only: he is able to work with huge artists and labels while still maintaining his signature sound. In other words, he doesn’t change his style to match the artist. I took to Twitter to ask him about this, but he has a lot of followers…

 

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