Since 2017, Seoul-based synth-funk stylist Mogwaa has been charting a low-profile flight path for himself through a series of chic, sun-drenched EPs of cybernetic boogie for Clique Records, Star Creature, Redseal Records and now, Brooklyn, New York’s beautifully curated Spring Theory label. And after crafting a monstrous Chicago stepper for Star Creature with The Universal Togetherness Band’s Andre Gibson on vocal duties, it’s time to get back to the beats.
Pilgrim, his latest 4-song offering, builds on the heavy analog p-funk synths and uncut drum machine funk of past releases like Déjà Vu. But this time, his innate understanding of groove is rendered with a lightness of touch that speaks to his background as a classically trained musician, and hints at a studied awareness of 80s Kankyō Ongaku (Japanese ambient music) and the subtle experimentation of their contemporaries across the Korea Strait in the land of the morning calm.
If the moody slow-build of ‘Camino De Los Vagabundos’ opens the EP, things pick up a notch with the mid-tempo space bounce of ‘Ocean Watch’ (perhaps we’re watching an ocean on another world), before flowering into a wistful display of ornate dancefloor excellence on ‘Paramita’ and the EP closer ‘Drizzle’. I’m not saying Mogwaa saved the best for last, but ‘Drizzle’ is certainly something. Also of note is the humid, figurative cover art, created and designed by Kais Dhifi.
‘Pilgrim’ is out now in 12” and digital formats through Spring Theory.