Review - The Very Best - MTMTMK
The Very Best’s debut album ‘MTMTMK’ (no, I don’t know what it means) is easily the most pleasant surprise of this month, if not this year. The duo (comprised of Esau Mwamwaya and Johan Hugo) are from Malawi and Sweden, but they came together in London. The world travels of the two men are extremely present in their music, as themes and languages bounce from continent to continent.
The music is…everything. Opening track “Adani” could easily be a Santigold song. I wasn’t terribly surprised with that, but the first song is where your expectations can stay. Every song afterwards brings something new: hip hop simplistic beats, Akon-ready club tracks and a sampling of what sounds like every culture on the planet follow. The variety on this album is staggering. “Rudeboy” is up on the hottest of electro, while the song before it, “Nkango” is anchored in the African chorus, handclaps, and a sitar. “I Want To Go Away” brings back the chorus, but features it on a high pitched hip-hop handclap beat.
The album is mostly in the national language of Malawi, Chichewa, but please don’t be scared away. Some songs are in English, but some of my favorite tracks on the CD are ones where I can’t understand a single word. The Very Best have found a way to transcend language and really pull you in and captivate you with music you’ve never heard before. Everything on ‘MTMTMK’ is amazing, and I can honestly say that if I had known what genres they mixed to create this album (the top three are labeled as Afro Western, dance, and jazz fusion), I probably wouldn’t have listened to it. Absolutely thrilled I did.
PS – You just know that when Diplo heard this he wet himself and then started writing a new Major Lazer record.
Listen to: every song. Really though.