Mord Fustang’s impact on the trajectory of electronic dance music in the 2010s has long been under-appreciated, but amidst the chaos of 2018, the Estonian production maestro has been mounting a revival of sorts. He’s quietly released four singles, two EPs, and an album since Christmas 2017, all of which see him honing in on his progressive leanings while delving into new sound directions, too.
First, though, a history lesson for those who are unfamiliar: starting in 2011, Mord Fustang released a streak of music through the Plasmapool label that would go on to mark the peak of complextro, a burgeoning electro house style pioneered by a number of rising producers at the time like Porter Robinson and Zedd. Tracks like “Super Meat Freeze” and “Lick the Rainbow” were pushing the bounds of complextro, and with each successive release, Mord was circling around the zeitgeist.
He played Ultra Music Festival consecutively during 2011 and 2012, starting the Magic Trooper label named after one of his earlier tracks. When the other producers he rose around started evolving into pop and other Worlds, Mord Fustang kept chiseling away on the vibes he knew. His debut album 9999 in 1 didn’t make as much of an impact as his previous work, so when deadmau5 came with a mau5trap offer, Mord Fustang pivoted towards new lanes with his Murmurs EP, which melded his style with some of that label’s recent techno sauce.
After that brought him back into some prominence, Mord Fustang began a new label in Los Angeles, Dawn of Light, where he’s been cultivating rising artists of his own like Akira Kiyoko and The Cultural, and this year started releasing new music of his own in earnest. Two of those are singles on Plasmapool — “Sorbet” melds a cute build with a jabbing drop, and “Cyberflunk” takes a hard-hitting, bass house lean — and he also released an EP on the label, A New Sun, mirroring his 2011 debut A New World.
Yet he’s saved the more experimental stuff for Dawn of Light: Mord Fustang’s second studio album Exciteshroom Adventure is a vast departure from his first, finding him relishing in expanding his sound. Highlights like “Stay With Me” and the three-part “Fragments II Suite” hold onto the melodic insight and video game ambiance that’s made his best tracks, but allowing him to engage with different styles of electronic music.
For reference as to the speed of this musical rebirth, that 11-track album came out on May 26th, followed by five more tracks, “Cyberflunk” and a four-track free download called EP2 2018, all of which came out yesterday. That latter release includes a track called “Starting Over” where Mord Fustang still sounds like his classic self, evolved a bit for the modern era.
Sure, he’s not trying to do anything radically new here, but it’s a solid iteration upon the music that’s made him grow to where he is today. I find it funny how the rest of the music world understands nostalgia when it comes to other genres, like how when someone goes to see The Smashing Pumpkins they’re more excited to see Mellon Collie live than any of the 2010s stuff, but when it comes to electronic music, it feels like the music cognoscenti or whatever are irreverent about its past remaining present. As long as artists like Mord Fustang keep core communities engaged around the sounds they’re making, they’re here to stay.