This new release from Mas O Menos is by Jos Ma, the moniker of Tom Wilson, whose music has the heart of a truly global creative explorer, even as he keeps its roots on the dancefloors of northern Europe.
Initially studying music in Leeds, Wilson became a devotee of venues and club nights on both sides of the Pennines; Canal Mills and Wire in Leeds became second homes, while promoters in Manchester such as Banana Hill felt like kindred spirits in their exploration and celebration of music from the mother continent.
The four tracks that make up Mongo's Dance have come from a long gestation period, but the producer made them quickly, throwing himself into eager trial and error rather than overthinking things, cutting up samples and re-configuring them before jamming synths over the top until the feel of a track clicked.
The result is a delicately melodic, fluid EP that even in its short four tracks shows a producer with different bows to their arrow. 'Intro' is a laid back, downtempo affair with vocal samples punctuating the track’s pared down synths and gently propulsive beats. Contrast that with 'Engang', which sees Wilson chisel all other elements away and put trust in the groove and urgency of its percussive elements. It’s something he echoes in 'Like Honey', although here the bright stabs of keys provide a welcome interjection - as does the chopped-up vocals that offer a further counterpoint to its kwaito-reminiscent shuffle. It is perhaps here that his respect and love of central and southern Africa’s dance forms is presented at its most bare.
The EP finishes with Mongo’s Dance, so-called after the Cuban Mongo Santamaria and driven forward by a chopped-up pachanga rhythm taken from one of the pioneering percussionist’s tracks. He then adorns it with wavy synths and flutes, each intertwining over the top as though engaged in ritual with one another. It’s a euphoric, slightly delirious end to an EP that puts Jos Ma firmly in Mas O Menos’ “neither here nor there” camp – a producer who simply follows his instincts and revels in the enthrallingly wandering music it throws up.