When we last brought up our April 2018 Artist of the Month, we relented that the AOTM feature might’ve been a hair premature. Because on this side of the 2020 turnstile, the beast that is Mobley has spread his tendrils into even more disciplines. Seemingly no longer challenged by the traditional songwriters’ plight of recording, producing, and touring cohesive material, Mobley’s moved on to crafting album-long concepts, directing and editing visual counterparts, and more recently…coding? That may sound odd at first, but of course, as with all things Mobley, there’s a big creative payoff.
In this case, it boils down to isolating singular instrumental tracks – more commonly known as “stems” – from a fleshed-out song. Any producer worth their salt will relate the joy of pinpointing a specific sound in a vast arrangement – “soloing” it – before bringing the full mix back in. Instantly unlocking the way remixes work, stems can lend themselves to some fascinating tonal pairings, almost like conducting a chamber quartet with the click of a button. Now, releasing stems for free use is no new affair, but that’s not exactly what Mobley’s been working on.
Instead Mobley’s picked up where Zaireeka and the Stem Player left off. Where the implementation of those notable predecessors was restrictive, either due to technical limitations (honestly who has time to sync up four stereos?) or simply a matter of supply and demand, Mobley’s coded an interactive multimedia experience that’s accessible to anyone with internet access. In doing so he’s peeled Cry Havoc!‘s centerpiece apart into four solo feeds – each of which can be toggled on or off at any time in the song’s two-minute duration – but here’s the kicker: those selections affect the visuals as well. That’s right; as you discover all these sonic combinations (maybe even a John Cage-esque take with all four instruments muted just for the heck of it), each respective member of the Cry Havoc! band – TV Man, Jacob Creedmoor and all – vanishes and re-appears accordingly.
On top of all that, two-different camera options, plus an absurdist Gilliam-style AI lip-synced Queen Elizabeth II providing the third, “lord” doesn’t just add a ton of re-play value to an already addictive track. It also puts a brilliant twist on the solo-artist-as-each-player music video concept that reemerges now and then. The only question now is what channel Mobley will transport us to next.