Named after a 16th Century Japanese swordsmith “possessed of a violent and ill-balanced mind verging on madness,” Mura Masa is the rather misleading alter-ego of hotly-tipped 19-year-old Alex Crossan.
Indeed, there may be a subtle Oriental flavour to many of the tracks the bedroom producer has so far unveiled, but his luscious laptop sound doesn’t exactly match the savage nature perhaps indicated by his stage name.
Hailing from the Channel Island of Guernsey, Mura Masa began making trap music at the age of 15, and after uploading some of his material to Soundcloud two years later, attracted the attention of influential Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, who named the flute-led instrumental “Lotus Eater” his Hottest Record in the World.
Recorded while studying for an English Literature degree at the University of Sussex, mixtape Soundtrack to a Death further helped to raise Crossan’s profile. But released through his own Anchor Point Records label earlier this year, it was genre-hopping debut E.P., Someday Somewhere, that cemented his status as one of the UK’s most interesting young talents.
Featuring guest appearances from a whole host of emerging London names (including Nao, Denai Moore and Jay Prince), the seven-track collection easily tackled everything from Disclosure-esque house-pop (“Firefly”) and pitch-shifted R&B (“When U Need Me”) to melancholic hip-hop (“Low”) and the kind of metallic funk The Neptunes perfected in the early 00s (“Lovesick”), while the opening glitchy electro-soul of “Are U There” also proved that Crossan could cut it as a vocalist.
Recent single “Love For That,” a beautifully-produced string-soaked collaboration with synth-pop chanteuse Shura, has maintained Mura Masa’s impressive strike rate, and should guarantee that his name is at the very top of next year’s Ones to Watch lists.