Posted on February 13th, 2015 (11:00 am) by Michael Negron

For the sake of brevity, let’s start with the most important issue: track three, “Pop,” is both the worst representation of 9999 in 1 as an album, and one of the best tracks of Mord Fustang’s career. He takes his "assemblage of electro house, dubstep, and dance" and turns it in on itself, creating a track that will undoubtedly polarize for its heavy deviation from the rest of his work. The reason this needs to be addressed first is conceptualized in that every other point, for better or (mostly) worse, is undeniably indebted to it in comparison: “after hearing 'Pop,' the first two tracks seem kind of weak;” “the tone of the album shifts after 'Pop;'" "one could say there is a greater ‘pop sensibility’ (Get it? Oh come on!)"

MF purists might scoff at the notion that the obvious single-bait also ranks among the best, but "Pop" has what the rest of the album lacks: variation in instrumentation, dynamic range, and tone. It is a well-placed feature that is thankfully not watered down by other features littered haphazardly throughout, a tasteful but certainly not shy approach to reverb, and consolidates a range of influences into one bout of great songwriting. Where is that album? It certainly isn’t before – the first two tracks could be eliminated entirely, or at least relegated to b-sides farther down, and it’d be better off – and compounded with two great tracks following it, comprising the core of the record, “Pop” is just damning for everything coming after.

Bluntly, 9999 in 1 doesn’t have a great sense of direction. This isn’t just the common issue of not giving thought to track ordering or how one track might feel next to another. To the contrary, without “Pop,” there is actually a fairly developed awareness of the relation between tracks, and despite a weak start, you can tell time was put into how the album might be taken on the whole. The problem here is more tragic: the best elements of the album are downplayed or outright ignored. There’s nothing here to make you cringe, but some choices are baffling. Why did “Skyward Sword” need to be nearly 8 minutes long? The progression is nice, and playing with the pacing is definitely something that could benefit the album, but what about that song in particular made MF think, “y’know, the ideas here need to be extrapolated a little more?” In the track immediately preceding, the excellently titled, and simply excellent runner up for longest track, “Doppelgangbanger,” he does exactly that, but successfully. So then, why another? It wouldn’t be justified were it not a successive track, but with that it’s unnecessary to boot.

By the time the album picks up again at “Milky Way (Pt. 2),” the culminating severity of questionable artistic choices has already grown blindingly apparent. Kudos for not riddling the album with filler, but what we’re given is no better. 9999 in 1 is a collection of songs stretched beyond their means, out-shined by unfortunate track placement, or abandoned before they have a chance to be great, with the exception of a few great tracks that fail to hold the album together. As a selectively chosen single-led EP, it could have been good. As an album of songs like “Pop,” songs it could have been great. However, as it stands, it’s barely above passable.

Track List:

  1. 1984
  2. Drivel
  3. Pop ft. LIINKS
  5. Doppelgangbanger
  6. Skyward World
  7. Grant Bowtie - Clockwork
  8. No Way to Stop
  9. Elite Beat Agent
  10. The Morning After the Morning After Pill
Mord Fustang - 9999 in 1 Review
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

52 / 100
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