Somali-Canadian producer and beat-maker Obuxum returns with Re-Birth, a follow-up to her 2018 EP, H.E.R. As she did on that record, on Re-Birth, Oxubum pairs house and techno beats with lyrical themes of gender and equity. Opener “Ayeeyo’s Intro / Can you feel my rage?” pits a vibrant, thumping, soulful house beat against looped narration explaining the gender-based violence that women face in Somalia. “Black Girls Flying,” another standout, is meditative and futuristic, making a deep impression despite clocking in at just over a minute. On the equally brief “Does your blood not move?,” Obuxum unveils a piercing, footwork-like beat that gives way to the Balearic “EQUITY!!!,” a moving track that opens with a portion of Viola Davis’s 2015 Emmy’s acceptance speech.
Obuxum has said that the album, “isn’t your average ‘beat tape.’ I created deliberate little worlds that tells numerous stories. Stories that I hold so dear to me.” And, indeed, Re-Birth does sound like a succinct project made up of multiple little worlds. Obuxum’s world-building is seamless, and taken together, the songs feel like one long track. With Re-Birth, Obuxum demonstrates that she has a singular vision, and is in a beat-making league of her own.
~~ D. Sharp daily.bandcamp.com/2019/08/22/obuxum-re-birth-review/
PRESS: BANDCAMP WEEKLY Show
OBUXUM's debut album Re-Birth shows her story is just beginning
Toronto-based, Somali-Canadian producer Muxubo Mohamed (aka OBUXUM), is not just telling her own story on her debut full-length album. Instead, she says, she’s “created deliberate little worlds that tell numerous stories.”
Her compositions bustle with hip-hop, house and techno elements, which gives the album a feeling of restlessness. Although half of the album’s 10 tracks clock in at under two minutes, each song delivers a unique statement. Every thump of the booming bass notes on Take Up SPACE!!, for example, feels like a manifesto for marginalized people to commandeer space.
Her fluttering beats mirror the motions of a pen scrawling across paper. As OBUXUM explains, each track is “a life-lesson or a note to upcoming Black womxn artists.” A sampled Viola Davis from her 2015 Emmy Award acceptance speech quotes Harriet Tubman speaking of equal opportunity on the glistening EQUITY!!! and on Don’t Blame Them, a funky electronic track that morphs into a silky R&B song, local singer/songwriter YourHomieNaomi offers warm encouragement.
On opener Ayeeyo’s Intro / Can You Feel My Rage?, a woman reports on gender-based violence in Somalia, stating that the east African country is “the second worst place in the world to be a woman.” OBUXUM encircles the voice in a murky soundscape anchored by a looped beat that ripples like blood dripping into water. At the song’s chilling half-way point, OBUXUM cuts through the haziness with a roaring synth melody that replicates her fury.
The album’s final voice is robotic and omniscient, welcoming us to “the maze.” From within the eerie soundscape of A Story About Re-Birth / To Be Continued, the voice says, “if this is your first time here, I shall explain the rules.” But before any instructions are given, OBUXUM leads us through a shadowy labyrinth of varying rhythms and textures. The effect is a little unsettling – speaking, maybe, to contemporary unbalance – but emphasizes OBUXUM’s mastery of mood.
Unquestionably, OBUXUM’s story isn’t over. This is just the beginning.
Rating: NNNN (Great)
OBUXUM is a Toronto based Somali-Canadian producer and beat maker, whose lush and characteristic sound celebrates story telling.
Her full length LP titled Re-Birth is set for release on Friday August 23th via URBNET. The anticipated follow up to her 2018 H.E.R. EP represents a time of transition of growth. You can hear the vulnerability. The freedom from inhibitions.
In speaking to what we can expect from the sound OBUXUM tells us,
“Each Song means something different, whether it is a life-lesson or a note to upcoming black womxn artists. I have a willingness to always experiment, and create small worlds of their own, that have their own meanings. I am not a fixed artist; you can never expect one kind of sound from me.”
New experiences bring forth a new kind of sound. With Re-Birth, OBUXUM plays with elements of house and techno, while still carrying through an alternative blend of hip hop.
She has made her presence known with notable festival performances at MUTEK Montreal, Wavelength Festival, Kazoo! Fest, Toronto PRIDE, Electric Eclectics, and Venus Fest. NOW Magazine also included her in their list of Toronto electronic musicians to watch in 2018.