I can’t say it surprised me to find that at the age of 20 years old Jake Penn a.k.a. Mumukshu is at the forefront of modern experimental electronic music. He has several releases under his belt on Australian glitch label Enig’matik Records as well as collaborations with the likes of Kalya Scintilla, Desert Dwellers, The Human Experience, and my personal favorite, his collaborations with his close friend and fellow producer Shwex. Mumukshu masterfully balances chaos and order with his onslaught of liquid squelching modulations that hem each melody to the next. I could sit here coming up with semi enchanting hype words to describe how truly psychedelic and ahead of his time Mumukshu is, or you could just press play on this exclusive mix and read this juicy interview we put together with the man himself.
1. Angelo Debarre – Lentement, Mademoiselle
2. Marc Adamo – Sublow Spazm
3. Whitebear – Auric Sight
4. Mumukshu – Wakefulness
5. Sun In Aquarius – A Song For Those That Miss Someone
6. Digital Rust – Gut Feeling
7. Mumukshu – Transformative Adventures
8. Shwex & Mumukshu – Chaotic Symmetris
9. Mumukshu – Folding
10. Mumukshu – Parallel Planes
11. Mumukshu – Time Passes At Various Speeds
12. Mumukshu – Squiggle Fins
13. Desert Dwellers – Bodhi Mandala (Drumspyder Remix)
14. Desert Dwellers – Lotus Heart (Kalya Scintilla Remix)
15. Kalya Scintilla – Whomp Shanti (Mumukshu Remix)
16. Mumukshu – Finding Meaning In Nothing
17. The Human Experience – That Sound (Mumukshu Remix)
18. Mindex – In Search Of Truth
19. Mumukshu – L’chaim
20. AMB – Spanner Scanner (Eurythmy Remix)
21. Mumukshu – Cryptic Polliwog
Be sure to check out his forthcoming album Finding Meaning In Nothing due to release early January on Kalya Scintilla’s label Merkaba Music.
[LiS] How is your project name Mumukshu pronounced phonetically?
Mumukshu is a Sanskrit word, so I imagine any English pronunciation is most likely an interpretation. The way it’s come to be pronounced is Moo – Mook – Shoe, and it means a seeker after liberation.
Your sound design is very unique, liquified and enriched with squelchy textures. What inspires those types of sounds?
Before I made electronic music, I was addicted to listening to it. I’d go get weird with my friends on the weekends and we would trip out about how insane the sound design of modern glitch/psy music is – I was immediately attracted to textural driven music. I think the main things that attract me to squelch and liquid sounds are the ability for them to hold aggression, which I really crave for, but not be overbearing or irritating. It’s a highly stimulating sound and also feels very natural, at least to me.
While producing do you utilize a lot of found sounds or are you more synthesis based, and why?
I would say that overall my music is more synthesis based, but I do use a lot of field recordings for layering in my tracks. Things like stacking an interesting natural sound on a snare can be the perfect touch for a break, or stacking a field recording with a bass to give it more texture. Recently I’ve been experimenting with imprinting the waveform of found sounds to synthesized noises with the use of a vocoder. It can deliver some pretty interesting dynamics to digital sounds which wouldn’t be possible through digital means alone.
What is your background in musical training?
Before making electronic music, not much. In 2010-2011 I decided to start learning sound design, and that was really the true beginning of my musical journey. After toying with synthesis and downtempo for a bit, I wanted to make people move, so the glitch-hop started. Currently I attend CalArts, and although I still am not very fluent with any instrument I’m well versed in tonal theory and will be making a return to melody driven music to fulfill some emotional ideas I have when the time is right. Downtempo really is where it’s at.
What DAW do you produce with?
What is granular synthesis and how do you utilize these techniques in your workflow?
Granular synthesis is more of a type of sampling than synthesis, although that’s the proper term. It’s the process of breaking a sound into its “grains” or little snippets of the waveform. I find it interesting for a variety of reasons. If you imagine a sound as a set of puzzle pieces, you’re able to change each puzzle piece bit by bit and then reconstruct the puzzle which holds the same shape. It’s a different type of effect when changing the puzzle as a whole which also sometimes changes its shape. Pitch modulation while keeping proper timing is just one of the strengths of granular synthesis. I think it is favored by producers because there is a very wide range of possible outcomes, and depending on your source material you can get some really interesting mangled shit.
Your collaborations with Shwex are masterpieces in my opinion. How was working with Nathan on those tunes? Did you guys do anything specific to keep the process as experimental as possible?
Nathan has been a friend of mine far before either of us made electronic music, so working with him is fucking awesome. We’ve always had similar tastes in art and can really feel like we trust each other working on a piece, so there never really is any question on where we want to take something. In terms of keeping things experimental I’m not sure, it just seems to be whatever flows out. One thing that we did while working together which I thought was cool was record our modulations by hand instead of drawing them into a DAW. Because we had four arms to work with, one of us would play a note and we would use the other three available arms to modulate different parameters by hand while recording straight to audio for a very human feel.
What was your most memorable gig this summer?
I would have to say Fractal Planet at Burning Man or Enchanted Forest. Enchanted Forest was a blast, and because it was so intimate there was a chance to really connect with other artists – I feel like i really came home with a lot from that one.
You have an album you are putting the finishing touches on. What are your intentions with this next release?
This next release is a focus on a few different facets of my personality, with two remixes by Sixis and Bwoy de Bhajan. It will be titled Finding Meaning In Nothing and will feature three tracks: “Finding Meaning In Nothing,” which is heavy/dark energy, “Squiggle Fins,” which portrays bubbly/happy vibes, and a raw dance floor driven squelch track called “Cryptic Polliwog,” which was written in collaboration with my good friend and great producer Bogtrotter.
Who will you be releasing Finding Meaning In Nothing through?
Merkaba Music and it’s due out beginning of January.
Where do you see Mumukshu in five years?
Traveling the world, spreading good vibes and tickling squish to smiling faces all over. : )
Where can someone see Mumukshu next?
My next show is the Lucidity pre-party in Santa Barbara with Dirtwire, another musical project of David Satori from Beats Antique. See you guys there! Thanks!