Sounds Like: Millennial R&B and neo-classical minimalism meeting in a trap track
Why You Should Pay Attention: Taking his moniker from a 16th century Japanese swordsmith, the productions of 19-year-old Brit producer Alex Crossan's are razor-sharp, with startling juxtapositions of elegant strings, honeyed R&B vocals and snapping trap drums. While he's working on his debut album, Mura Masa's individual tracks are taking off: "Lovesick Fuck" is at 1.3 million YouTube views while "Love for That" featuring Shura and released two weeks ago, already has more than 400,000 plays on his SoundCloud page. And back in April, five of Mura Masa's tracks were prominently featured on a Diplo & Friends mix for BBC Radio 1.
He Says: Crossan claims that Gorillaz' "Feel Good Inc." video so inspired him as a lad that he learned guitar just so he could play along. But he also credits his musician father for some crucial lessons beyond turning him onto Joni Mitchell and Yes. "He gave me the best advice about how to be a mindful musician," Crossan said. "He told me that music is so much more about what you aren't playing than what you are; silence and space are so important."
And while present-day Crossan relishes his recent collaborations with upstart singers like Shura and Nao, he's currently finding inspiration in something more personal. "I recently went through my first really terrifying breakup, and I can't express how powerful that is for me," he says. "It's not something to be shy of or try and avoid; catharsis is so healthy. I feel like a lot of really seminal records come from being deeply upset."
Hear for Yourself: The minimal snap of "Love for That" is led by an assured mix of strings, woodwinds and thumb piano. Andy Beta