“Since I began writing for Netlabelism, I’ve wanted to review a certain dynamic duo: LR-60 & Mr. Moods.
For the uninitiated, LR-60 is a trumpet player by the name Skip Warren. Before his work with Mr. Moods, Mr. Warren had a long career playing his trumpet with a laundry list of jazz, blues, and soul artists. For a more complete list, check the SoundCloud link provided at the bottom. I discovered Skip Warren through his work with Mr. Moods. Since then, I’ve been an avid listener, always on the look-out for something to share on Netlabelism.
I suspect Mr. Moods (a.k.a. Christian Denis) needs little or no introduction for the netlabel community. For the unfamiliar, he’s a prolific hip-hop/jazz/electronic producer with something on the order of 70 albums to his name. In addition to his work as a solo artist, Mr. Denis has produced a number of compilation albums as well as collaborations with other artists. One prodigious example of his collaborations is 2013′s A Tale Of Three Heads under the Wax Triptych moniker, which featured Mononome, Jenova 7, and Mr. Moods. Another example is what I’m reviewing today, Coldest Memories, which was produced with LR-60. Being a 2009 release, Coldest Memories is far from new. Yet, because I discovered it only recently, I decided to take the opportunity to shine a light on what these musicians can do.
In classic Mr. Moods style, the beats are downtempo and mellow. The sense of percussion and the balance thereof create a sort of connect-the-dots soundscape which is augmented by distortions, turntablism, and a plethora of samples. On their own, the beats are great and construct a nearly complete picture of the track. Yet something is lacking. Completion of Coldest Memories comes with collaboration with LR-60. The trumpet’s soaring notes and haunting melodies fill the gaps to produce a full, immersive audio-image.
The overall mood of the album is dark and foreboding with a chilling sense of familiarity. The samples present throughout the album underscore this idea. The clearest examples are those of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey. They are present throughout the album but are featured most prominently on the track “Hal & Dave”.
“Let me put it this way…The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made. No 9000 computer has ever made a mistake or distorted information. We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.”
If such a statement is not an invitation to calamity, I don’t know what would qualify. The instrumentation also emphasizes the mood, which can be heard in the deep, trudging bass, tinkling of chimes, and the broad implementation of the trumpet (high, low, muted, clear, short, long).
One of the most outstanding tracks to me is “Mirage”. With such a name one expects to experience sensations of dubious authenticity. The humming of the synthesizer at the beginning summons a sort of haze in which the rest of the track’s elements occur. The initial beat is a wet, trilling percussion that is definitely present yet seems insubstantial. Around 1 minute, a more substantial beat is introduced, but this seems to hypnotize with its steady nature thus amplifying the experience. The vocal samples lack definition, with one exception. Some are simply notes while others are cut up phrases (presumably), which are then reversed and reassembled. The exception is another mechanical voice asking “Will I dream?” Around halfway, most of the elements calm down before rearranging themselves, like a dream or hallucination gone rampant. The rapidity of a lute or zither adds a frenetic sensation to the experience. Let’s not forget the trumpet. The trumpet in “Mirage” gives me goose bumps. The high pitch and wild variation removes all sense of control (not that there was much to be had anyway). The track is happening whether I like it or not, and the best I can do is strap myself in for the experience.
The combination of LR-60′s trumpet and Mr. Moods’ beats is moving”
“A very chilled out vibe emotes from LR-60 & Mr. Moods' new collection of tunes on ULTRAVIOLENCE... industrial sexy if you will. I love the way chill and lounge-inspired music is heading. Gone are the days when there was just a cold pulse and soulless beat... maybe it's the warmth of LR-60's divine trumpet playing (Skip Warren) or the intoxicating rhythms from Mr. Moods (Christian Denis)... for sure the melodic direction of ULTRAVIOLENCE sets a deep groove for fans of ambient jams. This is a project that will transport you to a super relaxed atmosphere with the highest quality musicianship and production. Fans of future jazz, nu jazz and thrill-to-chill jazz will love ULTRAVIOLENCE! It's a must have addition for that icy cool collection of killer music you have. ~SANDY SHORE, [...]”
- Sandy Shore
“LR-60 & Mr. MOODSCosmic Serenades
Start with a dense sonic atmosphere… then layer it with textures of jazz and electronica… throw in some downtempo beats, erotic grooves and Skip Warren’s signature trumpet playing… this is COSMIC SERENADES, the latest sophisticated audio recipe from the sound kitchen of LR-60 & Mr Moods (Skip Warren and Christian Denis).
Chill out, relax and go deep with COSMIC SERENADES featuring 15 new tracks. The level of experimentation on this acid jazz journey is challenging, but with LR-60 & Mr Moods, often accessible, at least on a large handful of tracks. Accessible is probably the wrong word… let’s go with ‘within reach.’ Heady stuff here… both austere and passionate.
Our favorite tracks for SmoothLounge radio include the seductive “Deepest Soul,” the tribal “Tormented,” and the futuristic “Romantic Ride.” We appreciate the envelope pushing that takes place in the song writing chamber with these guys and remain excited by their creativity and depth… think Miles Davis meets Massive Attack. ~SANDY SHORE”
- Sandy Shore