Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement - Pan African Dub

Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement is the brainchild of composer/producer Kerwin Young, who's known in hip-hop circles for his work with The Bomb Squad and in orchestral circles for having composed seven-going-on-eight (yes, 8!) symphonies. Pan African Dub is his ninth (yes, 9th!) studio album under the Kasuf moniker. However, to hear him tell it, "It was never intended to be a Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement album, but…shit happens, and I had to improvise and keep it moving." Pan African Dub was meant "to feature spoken word artists and rappers, but I couldn’t get the cooperation I wanted," Young says.

It's hard to gauge without knowing which specific vocalists he had in mind for the project, but judging by the overall vibe, the instrumental outcome could be considered a happy accident. Kasuf and the Mazz Muvement's twanging guitar and triumphant horn lines draw the listener into rank and file in such a way that lyrics might've only distracted from the experience. Plus, there's a certain ease of refinement in how Young composes here; it's almost militaristic but pointedly so, always toward the cause of freedom. Besides, the song titles themslves succeed in setting scenes for the music to populate. Take, "Book of Poison Burn" or "Chopping the Claw (Of the Colonizer)" or "Black Woman Smash the Devil" for example. There's a cinematic quality to each – no surprise considering Young's experience composing for TV, film and video games. Having contributed music to everything from New York Undercover (1994) to The People vs. O.J. Simpson (2016), the producer knows how to tell stories through sound alone, and his background as a classically trained, jazz informed composer crearly aids in giving his take on dub a transportive quality.

The change in gears may have been an act of improvisation, but what is improvising if not composing in real time? And in terms of that, call him Kerwin or Kasuf, the man most definitely excels.

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