Muuixx recalls that fecund period during the 1990s when some notable electronic music was celebrated for its eccentric intrepid quality. But JOYFULTALK, the latest project of Nova Scotia resident Jay Crocker, isn’t nostalgic; rather, it leans toward creating something indelible. What the album does share with the aformentioned ’90s electronic music is a bric-à-brac sound palette, the result of its producers assembling their own bespoke studio setups to mine any and every source—from software to hardware, synthesized to sampled, and electronic to acoustic. Crocker’s approach is similar, embracing a bevy of homemade instruments alongside conventional studio technology.
The album’s munged digital samples, strands of difficult-to-identify acoustic instruments, and sticky gobs of synth treacle amble and ooze through malleable rhythmic grids. These wayward attributes sound tactile and vulnerable, gleefully flying in the face of all that is glossy and impervious—but that’s not to say the music is steadfastly lo-fi. The whole thing may feel like it’s held together with twine and duct tape, but the ragtag exterior reveals a warped compound-ear aural concept of perspective where flat 2-D surfaces wrap themselves around vibrant aural panoramas.
The buoyancy, obliqueness, and whimsy of Muuixx could easily topple the album into cloying quirkiness, but Crocker’s impeccable arrangements streamline its playful impulses into something remarkably temperate and nuanced.
For its brief duration, Muuixx eludes and teases the ear, whetting the appetite for more.