On the Run with Mu Vonz

Mu Vonz is all about movement. It’s in the sparse but driving beats, a locomotive propulsion. The lyrical motifs center on movement as well – travel and mode of transportation are dominant themes. On this new self-titled release from Already Dead Tapes & Records, Mu Vonz is perpetually in motion.

Mu Vonz is also a very sleek record. For whatever reason, the detached cool in these songs conjures memories of my childhood, riding in my dad’s Ford Fairlane at night with the radio on, FM coke rock broadcasting a laconic spookiness through the airwaves. This is night music.

The tracks are generally stripped-down, just an SP-404 or two generating deep beats and grinding bass lines, airy synth pads floating eerily above. Opener “Don’t Leave” nods towards early 2000s mutant house, danceable but minimalist. The transient lyrics are uttered in a dry but insistent manner, an assessment of whether to stay or go. 

On “Ride” Mu Vonz is the constant, riding the wave, even though “records could stop spinning/the guests could keep leaving.” Elsewhere, Mu Vonz sings of “No Space” – “every night I repeat/no space in between,” a declaration of claustrophobia, whether emotional or location-based. And why Mu Vonz is always on the run? 

In “MVMNTS” it appears Mu Vonz is moving toward instead of away, chanting, “the more I climb this mountain/the more I think about you,” and “not gonna try to jump on a train anymore/just gonna try to jump from a plane and soar.” The backing to these declarations resembles ‘90s R&B, with the chorus strangely reminiscent of ATLiens.

Though the entire album retains a veneer of chill, there is enough variation to keep things compelling throughout. “Hanging On a Wire” introduces some trap hi-hats, but the edge is softened by a warm boom-bap snare. “Underground” gives off spooky Halloween vibes. 

Mu Vonz is a bold contemplation on movement – the point between leaving and staying, the lonely exhilaration of itinerant existence. 

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