Though more restrained than Mauv’s previous releases, its production, style and technique speaks of an artist whose gears are at full speed.
Words by Brad Harris
Flipping through a Taschen book of Japanese graphic design recently, it immediately became apparent that tradition and modernity coexist at the heart of the country’s visual culture. Minimal harmonious works exist alongside a brash and humorous kawaii-focused approach to design wherein designers can pick and choose from a variety of visual languages and even alphabets (Kanji, Hiragana, Roman etc.) to create distinct work.
Upon watching the video that comes paired with Mauv’s new single Manual, I was reminded of this complementary existence. The polished animation is difficult to grasp at first, with its suggestion of some abstract alien nature alongside realistic birds and water. As the song builds, adding more layers to its hushed beginnings, brightly coloured and frenetic visual features are introduced which bring forth a feeling that it could all tumble and become just one big mess, yet throughout it all there is an order to proceedings. The syncopated drums for example could easily have been too much, but their surprise appearance adds just enough weight to keep things interesting as the well-timed psychedelic symbols on view bounce to their beat.
Up until now I hadn’t had the pleasure of hearing Mauv but heading back to his past releases has been revelatory. Parts of his work remind me of those hushed moments of PVA when frontman Josh speaks directly to you. Like these fellow techno titans, there has been recognisable thought put into the choice of each sound Mauv uses. Although this latest release is more restrained than previous, its production, style and technique speaks to an artist whose gears are at full speed.