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Hudson Mohawke's sole mission on Cry Sugar is to deliver ecstasy

"Cry Sugar"

Release date: 12 August 2022
Hudson mohawke cry sugar art
09 September 2022, 00:00 Written by Andy Steiner

In the announcement for Cry Sugar, Hudson Mohawke included an image of himself.

He has a simple grin, and the photo is angled so that HudMo looks about 30 feet tall. It’s a little silly, a bit endearing, and the perfect encapsulation of his newest album. Cry Sugar is a record primarily focused on delivering moments of ecstasy, and it achieves its goal by making the biggest, widest, and most expansive dance music possible.

Bigness is a recurrence in Cry Sugar. Each beat is heavily layered: soul samples clash into deep-set 808s alongside the ‘90s happy hardcore-style synth punches. “Ingle Nook” immediately establishes these grandiose intentions with a Kanye West-style orchestra: the piano octaves, beats, and vocal chops tune in and gear up for sheer maximalism. Even the album’s less propulsive moments like “Lonely Days” paint on a massive canvas filled in with strings and shimmers. The album is big in its plethora of genre: chipmunk soul collides into glitch and techno on “3 Sheets To the Wind,” and “Rain Shadow’s” linear synths take cues from hyperpop. Its pool of noise is big: “Kpipe” uses a sound that could either be a baby crying or a bagpipe blared through filters. Multiple songs use what could only be an electronic drill.

For all its insistence on galaxy-filling soundscapes, Cry Sugar is most captivating when it plays with the oxymoronic nature of its title, propelling heavy beats with saccharine joy. Highlight “Dance Forever” could soundtrack the next club-with-a-menacing-aura Marvel movie scene. The escapism of the song’s title is grounded by a hefty techno beat. The album’s final three tracks double-down on its devotion to euphoria, but the shadow of the comedown is still evident. “Ingle Nook Slumber” is the afterglow, the falling confetti drifting in the air after the show’s biggest drops. Cry Sugar thrives in these spaces between the unfiltered highs and the sobering up that follows. Hudson Mohawke is at his best when his maximalist palette is a platform for these volatile emotions of the dance floor.

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