This EP needs its own version of the BBC Radio disclaimer, the one about foul language and finding another station. *Clears throat.* Please note that Tiki Punch contains dark, heavy sounds, not at all mellifluous to the ears, well music to some, and nothing but noise to others. If you are here expecting tropical tunes, looking for a lei, or like pina coladas (and getting caught in the rain) in a curvy glass, with a mini umbrella and cherries and pineapple impaled on a plastic sword, Murphy’s music may not be for you. His new EP Tiki Punch serves nothing but heavy tunage, with violent bass lines that give the punch to this album. Never have I heard a more dangerous and aggressive bass that seemed to be everywhere at once. I thought maybe it would make me vomit, felt like I couldn’t breathe when it got in my throat, and of course my face was frozen from filth for the majority of today.
I originally misled myself when seeing the EP’s title, I should make it clear to tropical house/bass fans still here: you are not in Kansas anymore: look out now, you are in the trap now. Murphy serves up plenty of punch on this EP, of the tiki variety, whatever that means. Am I the only one to have assumed tiki meant tropical, and believed that assumption because this subgenre is so hot right now? Intentional or nah, Murphy trolled me hard.
Hard is a synonym for tough, or tuff, as in beats. Tuff beats is one of the only pieces of information listed on Murphy’s socials. He does appear to be too young for all the darkness that is inside him, but this is his positive outlet for release. Sinister vibes and violent bass drive melodies so down and dark they cease to be melodic; they are blackened and burnt, crispy and crumbling. Beneath the charred bits of melody are ominous trap beats remnant of UZ’s sound. I am convinced these three tracks were wielded in the same fires of Mordor, wherein the ring that binds them all was forged, and destroyed.
The title track “Tiki Punch,” (ft. Gunkst) is jarring to say the least. You become so unsure of what is real when the music goes beyond comprehension of this world. And you must have slipped into a dream, because you’re in this dimly lit room, with all doorways sealed shut. A goblet sits in front of you, with steam pouring from its edges, just as a potent potion might do in a witch’s cauldron. It is teasing you, begging you to drink it. But you have seen Alice Through the Looking Glass, and you’d rather not fight the jabberwocky. Not today. Where is the coconut cup filled with tropical delight with an umbrella on top, though? Tiki Punch is not anything like you thought, and you are definitely not drinking whatever is in that cup. You kick over the glass, round up the innocents, and move on to “Call of the Wild,” which shares its name with a Jack London novel about wolves. The track premiered on NestHQ, who are super impressed with Murphy’s exceptional beatmaking abilities.
His music is transformative; it morphs into more than just sound, opening all of your senses to experience its meaning. This track transports you to the middle of a forest, standing under a pitch black sky, on all fours. You are a warg, for Game of Thrones fans out there, called upon by your pack. All you can remember is resounding bass felt from your belly to your throat, and the barking and howling. You are doing it too. Murphy seems to have a penchant for shock and awe, and everyone will be on the receiving end of this one. It goes completely wild, as the title suggests, but in a way that twists you up in knots. Squirming as it plays with your spinning head as it tries to wrap itself around a complex track. Do not try to deconstruct this song, or isolate any of the sounds. It will only result in further head spinning.
“SOS,” comes next, and it is just what you need after tripping out those first two tracks. Except, help is not on the way. Murphy’s music stays baffling and disorienting with his tunes, This last track is a collection of random sounds thrown together in a way that confuses and surprises you. Make no mistake about the talent of this act. There is a method to this madness that is too much a part of Murphy’s artistic vision to be fully revealed through his music, but it should makes so much sense in that it makes no sense at all. It is ridiculousness at its worst, organized chaos at its best, and a representative of reality and life. It is a virtual journey with obstacles, and real life sounds like honking automobile horns.
It’s hard to not break focus with these tracks all over the place, intense and intricate so that you want to pay attention to every little thing at once, only to realize you can hear it all when you take in the whole sound at once. It isn’t for you to take it apart; it is for you to feel all of its elements within the final product. Listening to this EP on repeat might be quite dangerous. I watched my own head spin like the Tasmanian Devil. It flew clear off, and it is still zipping around somewhere. In just three tracks, this EP flips the script, proving that expectations are moot when it comes to Murphy; he is a master of musical plot twist. A jaw dropper for sure, packing his punch in these powerful three tracks.
By now you must know that nothing there is nothing tropical about Murphy. Who knows what TF Tiki Punch is, other than this EP, and who cares? I can not get enough of it. Murphy’s music is less like the sounds of an island vacation and more like a terrifying nightmare. I can’t get over the irony of this title, and have been uncontrollably laughing while writing this, at the thought of frowns turned upside down, listeners on some tropical bandwagon fooled by the title and terrified as a result. Murphy calls this EP fizzy and refreshing in the SC description, and it is. Just not so light and airy as a glass of pop.
Don’t let the bass get you, and don’t get fooled again. Unless you’re into this sort of thing. I definitely am. Murphy’s music is a storm cloud over tropical skies; fix yourself a Tiki Punch, but don’t be surprised when it only makes you thirstier.