Brought to you by The Corner and NZ On Air, Awesome Feeling 8 is an online event running through NZ Music Month 2014, culminating in the release of a free downloadable compilation of 12 New Zealand songs and the words written about them. Every couple of days, we’ll be posting streaming+downloadable tracks from emerging local artists, accompanied by artist and track profiles authored by Corner contributors.
Thomas E. Richards, AKA Mongo Skato, creates intense percussive landscapes that are occasionally frantic and generally funky as hell. Originating from the Kapiti Coast but now residing in Wellington, Richards was involved in a few different live collaborations with old friend Fergus Nelson Moores (Ladieswear Landscapi, Rod Bannister, Mount Erect) but started this solo project a few years ago.
If you’ve ever caught him live, you will have seen his masterful command of the MPC and his unique set up, which involves working with various loop stations and effects pedals to create a sound that is unmistakably his own. His earlier work was heavily influenced by legendary Chicago Footwork producers DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn, amongst others, and often emulates their distinctive, uptempo, semi-automatic percussion that is frequently juxtaposed with fresh and breezy soul, jazz or funk samples. Though clearly derivative of that movement, all the tunes he released back then were very distinctive, displaying a delightful ability to produce intricate drum patterns, absorbing synth lines and hazy grooves with a sloppy swagger.
More recently Mr. Skato has been slowing things down a little and creating music that is more influenced by house and techno, particularly the New York based label Long Island Electrical Systems (L.I.E.S.), as can be heard in the track ‘You Can’t Front On That’. The kick drum on this tune is absolutely relentless, and when that funk bass drops in it’s impossible to sit still. The looping synthesised melodies create a dreamlike background, while the constant little drum rolls and vocal samples remind us of his earlier influences. And if you look back to the late eighties Acid House that inspired elements of the Footwork movement, you can hear a bit of this sound as well. Oh how we love the circle of life.
Download previous Awesome Feeling compilations: