Matoma - Hakuna Matoma (Album Review)

The life of a producer can be kind of crazy. One minute dubstep is all the rage, the next it might be vapor wave, and in 2015 tropical house has been a huge sound for producers. We have heard tropical house production on such singles as Justin Bieber's immensely popular and first number one single "What Do You Mean?". As well as on a slew of tropical house remixes. Matoma's newest "album" Hakuna Matoma is an interesting testament to not only the life of a producer but to what it means to be creating in one of these "popular at the moment" styles.

Basically this "album" is a glorified playlist of Matoma originals and remixes most of which have been readily available for a while. The majority of the songs on Hakuna Matoma can be found on Soundcloud with a few exceptions. Matoma's remix of One Direction single "Perfect" was not allowed to be placed on Soundcloud, although I've seen some press that suggest the remix is part of the album. Also Matoma has left his new album open ended meaning he can add as needed and at some point he plans to release a final version for fans. Until then Hakuna Matoma has been compiled and been placed on not just Soundcloud but on various other streaming platforms. The concept of making a producer playlist an album is kind of an interesting one. It helps get a big body of work available in one place so a producer can build a larger fan base. Since production can be fickle it helps the artist compile these originals and remixes under a certain "album" type of project so that it represents a body of important work the artist has done. It is quite possible that we might not hear an official Matoma all originals project for a while and at that point tropical house may be out and he may be heading in a new direction or the producer may just shift his focus away from the style he's most well known for at the moment to try new things. We've seen it happen in production countless times. Think of all the artists who gained buzz with ultra hot "sound of the moment" dubstep and had to move on when the style began to grow stale. So while I don't mind these being compiled under the album moniker tag remember that this is a glorified playlist at this point in time.

That being said Matoma has cranked out a ton of really good remixes. The beachy, sun drenched, dance vibes of tropical house are insanely infectious. One of the best remixes on the project, The Notorious B.I.G. song "Old Thing Back", strips away some of the original east coast sounds for beach coast sounds and it's really interesting hearing B.I.G.'s flow over the sunny beat. "Feeling Right (Everything Is Nice)" one of the originals on the project, pretty newly released, features some really nice rapping from Wale and it honestly makes Wale sound the most exciting on a beat that I've heard in a while. The One Direction remix of "Perfect" is pretty neat and another one of the standout remixes on the album. It definitely adds a lot more playability to the song in terms of a club vibe. It really brings out another dimension to the song and I can see the EDM crowd really enjoying this a lot. I like when a producer can make a remix and it almost just becomes a different song in terms of vibe and feel.

This project is 8 tracks long on Soundcloud (so far) and 9 if you include the "Perfect" remix and that isn't too much tropical house sound all at once. I like the production style and if you're in the right mood it is a lot of fun. Even at just nine tracks the songs can become a little tedious and similar in style by the time you reach the end of the album. I will say I think Matoma is one of the best producers of the sound right now. As far as tropical house goes I don't think I've heard many producers tackle the sound with the success he has. I'm really interested to see if the style can continue to expand past a few of its main characteristics and if it is able to incorporate a few more different types of sounds into the style or if it will be here and gone in more of a flavor of the week type thing. Essentially the best thing to do with this album is take it as a collection of singles and remixes and pull your favorite few off of it and put them on when you're in a good mood or it's a nice sunny day. Overall it's a fun collection of songs and it definitely highlights why this production style has gained popularity this year.

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