Album Review: Mineral Kult - Her & Suzy

Owing as much to the dance floors of the 1990s, packed with sweaty rave kids, all slithering around to the electronic music being produced at the time—as well as the breakbeats and turntablism of roughly the same era, pioneered by DJ Shadow, among others, along with the worldly influence of being created in an Egyptian city rippling with the current of an underground music scene, Her & Suzy is a jubilant, rollicking, and kaleidoscopic listen from beginning to end.

The EP, a spry five songs that arrive at 20 minutes, is the work of Ragy Ahmed, the head of the ‘lose collective’ of underground musicians based out of Cairo, SLOVVDK—pronounced ‘slow decay.’ Released under the moniker Mineral Kult, Her & Suzy, is, more or less, a short DJ set, created by Ahmed last year to play as what he calls a ‘supporting act’ in various gigs.

He calls it ‘quirky, cartoon-ish house music inspired by disco, techno, funk, hip-hop, and dub,’ and he’s not off base. Proudly wearing its influences and inspirations on its sleeves, Her & Suzy is a lively collection of tracks that is, not surprisingly, boiling over with infectious grooves.

Intended for consumption in one sitting, simply due to its nature and its structure, it is, surprisingly, not laid out seamlessly—some tracks end by colliding head first into the beginning of the next one, while others have a more clearly defined conclusion. All of the tracks, though, find Ahmed working within the same general groove, crafting a very cohesive environment for Her & Suzy.

Her & Suzy opens with what is perhaps the EP’s jauntiest, or at least, most freewheeling track—“Eye Remember Her.” Built around a strong, swaying groove that is unrelenting in its nature, it also features its share of manipulated vocal samples—a technique that Ahmed works into nearly ever track included. The songs are never totally reliant on these disembodied, distorted voices—rather, they are additional layers applied and woven into the tight, pulsating fabric of the music.

If “Eye Remember Her” is the jauntiest, and has a feeling that could only be described as ‘fun,’ then the EP’s second track, “Shy,” is anything but what the title implies—it’s probably Her & Suzy’s funkiest track, owing a lot to some of the less bombastic moments of Dig Your Own Hole by The Chemical Brothers and features a strong disco vibe—albeit chopped up and jittery disco—which serves as a segue into the third track, “Catch-Up.”

Following a slowly simmering intro that builds up over a reserved drumbeat, Ahmed creates visceral tension as “Catch-Up” approaches the one minute mark, by very quickly adding in a number of new layers—including a vocal sample, a pointed synthesizer pattern, and a low, warbled bed of ambiance underneath it all.

The EP’s second half opens with the very Four Tet and Gold Panda inspired “Popped,” a track that is true to its name with its bubbling, skittering, layered, dizzying percussive elements. As “Popped” comes to a close, it runs almost seamlessly into the Her & Suzy’s final piece, the sprawling “Dub-Plates”—a track that finds Ahmed pushing his sonic direction further than he had on the four preceding songs by piling on multiple percussive tracks, synthesizer sequences, and vocal samples that have been chopped to bits and reassembled, and through some changes in speed and tempo, brings the EP to a somewhat abrupt conclusion.

Her & Suzy is not the first effort Ahmed has issued under his Mineral Kult moniker through the growing, diverse discography of SLOVVDK—the first, a two track single, was issued in February of this year, and this EP shows exponential growth and focus in direction for the project, as well as confidence coming from Ahmed as a producer.

Both short enough to never overstay its welcome, but also bordering on being entirely too short because you feel like it just began, Her & Suzy is a fun listening experience, which is something I’m not used to, really, give my penchant for moody ambient droning and what I commonly refer to as ‘sad white people music.’ But for all of 20 minutes, the day’s anxieties may seem not as urgent, as you find yourself nodding your head along with Ahmed’s beats and noises, feeling something that could possibly resemble ‘good.’

Her & Suzy is out now as a digital download, via SLOVVDK.