REVIEW: Charles Murdoch’s Debut Album ‘Point’

Brisbane producer Charles Murdoch may have been kicking around for a while now, but loyal fans have had to sit patiently for a while, waiting for him to finally release his debut album. Having seen relative success with a string of off-kilter electronica back in 2013, he signed to Future Classic and was seemingly raring to go as one of their “next big things”, but instead went on hiatus. Hiatuses can be tricky for fans, because you know the artist has to do what they’ve gotta do, but at the same time, you really want to hear new music. Well, the wait for Charles Murdoch and his new music finally ended last year, and it was absolutely worth it.

Coming back on the scene just before he played the Red Bull Music Academy stage at Splendour In The Grass last year, he spent the last half of 2015 slowly trickling through his new stuff, announcing that December would see the long-awaited release of his album, Point. And what a record it is.

Starting off with the sparse soundscape of Nothing For You, Murdoch’s intricate production is on full display here from the get go. Teaming up with Perth artist KUČKA (who is a rising star in her own right), this makes for a perfect opening track for what is still to come. From here, he delves deeper and deeper into his eerie and mysterious sounds that he finds himself most comfortable, yet never sounding quite the same.

Frogs, the most accessible track on the record, also stands as one of his best. Working with Perth wonder-producer Ta-Ku, Brisbane up-and-comer Wafia and NYC-based rapper Hak, the track is as smooth as they come and has a hook that will embed itself in your brain for days to come. However, it’s the meticulous nature of Murdoch’s production, like the warbling synths and sharp beats, that make the track what it is.

This trend continues both on his solo tracks and the ones with feature spots. BanoffeeOscar Key Sung and Chloe Kaul (from Kllo) each bring their A-game to their respective tracks, but it’s Murdoch’s succinct and driven talents that make them what they are – meandering, sprawling, groove-focused jams that really get you going. Straws and Wash in all their ambient yet intense glory, show the producer is more than capable of standing on his own two feet, and that his time off was put to extremely good use. With the guest vocalists, Charles works with them instead of one over-shadowing the other. Focussing on creating songs that work just as well together as they do separately, Point as a whole is hugely accomplished.

You can feel how much work has gone into this record, with painstaking attention to detail from Murdoch. Each track is refined and precise, and they all feel complete. Knowing just when enough is enough, Murdoch has traversed the gap between generic floor-fillers and mind-bending, left field tracks to create something that sits comfortably in the middle. It’ll make you think and feel, but it will also make you move and dance. It’s as impressive as they come, and should hold him in good stead for the year to come. Let’s just hope he doesn’t make us all wait as long before his next move!

Point is out now via Future Classic.

Image from Charles Murdoch’s Bandcamp