Moka Only - Martian XMAS 2021
The mammal martian has returned with yet another edition of his long storied winter season series. This collection picks up a thick head of steam right off the bat with “Do What We Do”. There sounds to be a little extra pep in his lyrical step to start off this project. The beat easily sounds like it could have been created during his prolific fall 2001 era. As this Martian album moves along we can sense more of this; revisiting Halcion fall/winter times that have clearly imprinted a palpable and tinsel-tinted hue upon his current mood and methodology. As Moka says “…we so serious with this”, and yet we are left to ponder the concept of ‘wiping the custard off’, only just when we were comfortable with a fleeting moment of solemn lyrics on a prior track. As the track ‘Stimulator Mission’ implies, Moka really delivers on this sentiment with a spacey, dusted out groove, with a seemingly random progression of chords and ‘gang vocal adlibs’ that also peppers a few other offerings on the album. On the first spin of this project, these type of adlibs caught me off guard, and I was reminded of similar adlib vocal styles of 90s groups like Leaders of the New School or FuSchnickens. Pure fun and nice to receive this style of flavor again in today’s disjointed world. Another standout track was the bittersweet “Fallin”. This one sounds like it is a contender for Moka’s short lived “cry wave” beat series that only true patriots of Mokadom would be aware of. Overall this album really goes places and of course the conceptual continuity bits have been inserted throughout, as to be expected; the truncated bits of dialogue that have been manipulated annually since Martian 2008. These repeated motifs are the kind of pepper that have kept Moka’s Martian Xmas stalwarts returning year after year. Though the thematic material could be deemed repetitive or wearing thin, it really doesn’t present any real evidence of throw away material or lack of inspiration, in fact it’s rather incredible that this series is still an annual thing. We should all count our stars that Moka has gifted us another non-ugly Xmas sweater to don throughout these colder months, not to mention that the Martian series seems to sound just as inviting during summer months. Go figure! For now lets get our dark parkas, set out for a dark season, and just stroll and strut. That’s what! Thank you Moka! Thank you URBNET! —- Shuggie Footsmith, Yakima Jazz Gazette, 2021.