Mo Douglas – Fry The Onion Gently | Experimental Instrumental
As an indie-artist reviewer/critic, I’ve come across a bunch of bizarre names for albums and singles over the past few months, but Mo Douglas‘ latest release gets the prize for the most peculiar one. The multi-instrumentalist/producer maestro recently put out his eighth studio album titled, “Fry The Onion Gently” – a collection of 10 instrumental tracks, each with its own unique mix of elements from jazz, neo-soul, funk, progressive and more. Douglas started releasing his music in 2016 and has come quite a long way since. With a plethora of singles out and his eclectic style of mixing multiple genres, Mo Douglas is known to deliver captivating performances. His latest album showcases his experimental approach to writing music excellently, so let’s dive right in.
Mo Douglas shares his recipe with a groovy neo-jazz track called “Serve Piping Hot“. It begins with a warm saxophone melody that introduces a guitar-driven riff over a drum rhythm. The about three-minute-long track showcases Douglas’ unique composition style that blends jazzy elements with infectious melodies, creating a space with a lot of movement and intrigue; a solid start to the album.
“Dance the Long-Haired Dachshund” carries the album with the same saxophone amidst reverb-drenched vocals and a swing beat. Just two tracks in, and it becomes evident that Douglas likes revolving his songs around a catchy melody that keeps his listeners hooked. His experiemental style here comprises of electronic-inspired elements and colorful textures that are quite appealing.
Track three, aptly named “Chill Thoroughly” begins with a simple electric guitar progression that sets an atmosphere of optimism. As it progresses, Douglas introduces a bunch of complementary melodies over some percussion. The repetitive tunes develop dynamically and swirl around the intersting instrumentation here; a pleasure to the ears, if you ask me!
“A Light Greased Casserole” starts off with a happy acoustic guitar melody that continues to play over Douglas’ favourite saxophone. The mixture of hopeful melodies and the slight touch of nostalgia in this seven-minute-long track makes it stand out from the rest of the album. With dynamic effects that enhance the feel of the instruments, the artist incorporates his experimental style once again. About three minutes in, the song takes on a different colour; very jazz-oriented and saxophone-driven. The acoustic guitar supports the lead melody beautifully with a laid-back feel. My favourite track so far!
Track five “Add The Bay Leaf Pt. 1“, shows that Douglas is quite versatile when it comes to composing. His sound can be best described as “fresh, yet familliar”, owing to his distinct style of fusing elements from multiple genres. The way he makes instruments work well with each other, along with subtle nuances in production, really makes the lead melody of the song shine through.
“Wedges of Fresh Lime” plays somewhat similar to the initial tracks in the album. Douglas’ use of reverb and delay is quite interesting here. Just when you least expect it, he dives into reverb-drenched spaces that fill up the frequency spectrum extravagantly. A solid composition with a soothing outro.
Following the steps in Douglas’ recipe, we arrive at step seven, “A Moderately Hot Broiler“. He seems to take inspiration from theatre music here because of the emotive chord progressions and classy melodies. The wailing saxophone plays as the definite highlight of this track among acoustic guitar rhythms and bright percussions. A very moving performance indeed.
“A Thin Slice Of Zucchini” begins with an acoustic guitar that has a ton of delay on it; very spacious and enticing. The artist creates a dream-like atmosphere here with the lush instrumentation and constantly moving textures. What’s great about Douglas’ album is how unique some of his tracks are in their own way, though they still fit in with the experimental, emotional vibe of the album.
Douglas changes things up a bit with “Celery and Hazelnut Soup” – a mix of psychedelic melodies and interesting grooves. It almost sounds like a modern-day instrumental Pink Floyd single with its up-in-the-air feel and electronically-enhanced elements. Its great how each of the songs here offer something different, and there’s no doubt that Douglas knows how to keep his audience hooked!
The album ends with “Add The Bay LeafPt. 2“, a continuation of track five. Following the same groove pattern and similar melodies, the artist takes you back to the middle of the album where things were more playful and lighthearted. Its almost confusing how the album plays on for 37 minutes yet brings you back to a familiar place of hope and wonder.
Douglas’ instrumental jams weren’t always this electronically-enhanced over the years. His latest album showcases a fresh sound that I’m sure a lot of you will enjoy listening to!