Various A Year of Mule Electronic

As a child they called me "Mule Boy” at summer camp, apparently because I was slow like one. Saiko Tsukamoto shows why that shouldn’t be a slight, opening Mule’s inaugural retrospective with "Water Echo,” a plodding piano tickler that ascends gently and gracefully into the air, leaving the same expanding imprints in the puddles as a gull taking off with its prey. There’s time enough to breathe but don’t get too complacent. Japan’s Mule Electronic, the digital analog to Mule Musiq’s roots-based selections, specialises in unique fusions of trip-hop, techno, deep house and breaks, forming a microcosm of higher order electronic genres. The album features remixes of Mule’s staple producers, an international assortment of creative characters like Dublee, who in 2000, after warding away a RATM obsession, swore off all external sources of music in favour of fostering his own creativity. With an outstretched hand from the collective depths of so many rural basements, and attempting to engulf an active, urban global music community by fingering nearly every aspect of the industry, Mule’s biding its time, building up the kind of catalogue that one day might be widely regarded. So far, they’re but a footnote in a growing list of scenes championing the minimal varieties of techno and house. Footnotes are there for damn good reasons though — sometimes you won’t understand the paper without them. Slow and steady sets the pace. (Mule)