Mura Masa is quickly turning into one of the most interesting up-and-coming producers out there. Mura Masa
(real name Alex Crossan) grew up on the little island of Guernsey and dove into electronic music after discovering Hudson Mohawke. He started streaming music via YouTube and stumbled across James Blake, Cashmere Cat and SBTRKT. His new and old influences (like Gorillaz and The Smiths) inspired Crossan to write music, learn to play different instruments and eventually, he started sharing his creations via Soundcloud. Thus, Mura Masa was born and this UK island boy turned internet wizard brought his mysterious, chill vibes and insane talent to the Music Hall of Williamsburg last week.
I walked out to the upper tier of the Music Hall just as Bonzai went into her closing track. The Nigerian-born London-raised vocalist was wearing a one-piece jumpsuit with hair braided down to her lower back and she whipped it around with each sway of her hips. Bonzai pairs her sultry voice over brooding synths and dark, electronic beats to make music that is the definition of modern R&B. Her stage presence was fierce as she strutted around the stage showing the crowd her charm and charisma. As her song came to an end, the room erupted in a raucous cheers.
When Mura Masa walked onto stage, his table was set-up slightly behind the stage lights that normally highlight performers. He was almost in the shadows of the stage, which isn't a bad thing at all. It allowed his music to be the focus and added to the mystery of the moniker he made for himself. Mura Masa began his set with Dracula-like organ keys that transitioned into a subdued, key-driven number that was reminiscent of James Blake and led into "Lovesick" off of Someday Somewhere
. About 45-seconds into the track, Bonzai came back out to join Mura Masa on-stage to grace the crowd her sensual R&B vocals for the rest of the night.
Another Someday Somewhere
track, "Low", followed the opener and Mura Masa showed the crowd a more outgoing side as he danced with Bonzai. "Cloud Claps" followed from his 2014 debut-album Soundtrack to Death
and it was a turning point of the show as it went from chill vibes to a potential mosh-pit. He showed how multi-talented he is as he banged on his trap drums and cymbals while simultaneously tweaked at the knobs on his tables. "Terrible Love" is a track that originally features London singer-songwriter, Denai, but Bonzai filled her shoes wonderfully and gave a passionate performance to allow the crowd to take a breather from all the jumping and shoving.
Mura Masa did a synth-heavy cover of Usher's "You Don't Have To Call" where he whipped out his electric guitar to play along with the track. A few other highlights towards the end of the set with "What If I Go?" "Love For That" and "When U Need Me" where Bonzai jumped into the crowd to dance. She climbed back on stage to perform "Firefly," which everyone was clearly waiting to hear as the whole room erupted in cheers. "Lotus Eater" closed his set as Mura Masa invited all the fans to come up on stage to dance beside Bonzai and himself. Mura Masa is some of the freshest talent in the underground scene and he put on a spectacular show from start to finish. As one showgoer said on the way out of the venue, "Holy s--t."