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Album Review: 'Aquanaut' by Must Volkoff

10 Aug 2017 spotlight words by Alex Osborne
Album Review: 'Aquanaut' by Must Volkoff

Must Volkoff's latest album Aquanaut may have been a long time coming, but it won't take more than a track or two for you to forgive him for every month, week, and day this album took to create.

Aquanaut is Must's follow up to his acclaimed 2013 space-themed album, White Russian. Not having released a solo album in four years, doesn't mean he has been keeping quiet. Must has been busy making tracks and albums for fellow Pang Productions artists as well as many others. The first thing that grabbed me about this album was the title and dope cover art by Retayner, which immediately transports you, adventuring through the depths of the ocean on a psychedelic underwater trip.

Aquanaut boasts an impressive guest list of MCs which includes UK veterans Ramson Badbonez, Jehst, Chester P, Sonnyjim, Micall Parknsun and Mongo; as well as local lyricists including Flu, One Sixth, Maundz, Mata, Dyl Thomas, Gutz, Maggot Mouf and Adam Koots. Rounding out the grand total of the twenty five guest MCs are Remus, Joker Starr, Confucius MC, Kosyne, Anyway, Ophqi, Joe Snow, Dialect, Aslan, MNSR Frites and Soma.

Must has this unique ability to bring out the best in the MCs that touch his beats. Each instrumental calls on the MC to prove why he deserves to be on the album. Within such a stacked list of MCs, there are bound to be a few names that you already know and would (should) hold in high regard; the rest you will get to know and put in the same category. Two notable new voices that I will now be looking out for are Mongo and Joe Snow.

From the production standpoint, Must shows change and maturity from his last album. Aquanaut has a tighter feel as an overall body of work while maintaining Must's signature flair on each track. Most of the beats on this album have a dark, murky feel meshed with haunting keys which lends them to the many different styles of guest raps. His samples, cuts, and mixing are done with such precision that there is not so much as a sloppy hiss or scratch. The production style flaunts his skills as a producer and beat maker as much as it quietly demands respect for the way he fundamentally nails every track.

Tracks like Raining in the Hood feat. Mongo and Fuck the Arcade feat. Jehst and Mata have the eloquently hypnotic keys that ensure these two tracks get a major spin. But Must's production extends all over the spectrum of this concise and solid body of work, and it's not a stretch to say this is one of the best produced local hip-hop albums of the year. In this album, Must proves that he really can do everything, from sampling old movies in the title track, Aqauanaut, to wicked rewinds on Reset Button feat. Kosyne, as well as pumping out bangers like Dr. Seuss feat. Flu.

Aquanaut is out now through Pang Productions and if you haven't already heard it, then get ready to immerse yourself in the dark and absorbing water of Must's new album.

The Melbourne album launch for 'Aquanaut' is this Friday the 11th of August at Revolver Upstairs, and will feature album guests Adam Koots, Dyl Thomas, Flu, Guts, Joe Snow, Maggot Mouf, Mata, Maundz, Nelson Dialect and One Sixth in one massive live performance, with special guests Sinks feat. Mol One, Tiney Ted and DJ Decktektive spinning tunes throughout the night.