Mura Masa: How ‘Geographical Isolation’ Spawned a Singular EDM Producer

Mura Masa: How ‘Geographical Isolation’ Spawned a Singular EDM Producer
Mura Masa’s debut album is out this week. Ewen Spencer

Mura Masa, the recording project of 21-year-old producer Alex Crossan, has spent a year riding an incredible amount of buzz with tracks that wiggle between trap, EDM and pop. After being featured on Diplo’s BBC1 radio show, he recorded the A$AP Rocky collaboration “Love$ick,” which hit the U.K. charts and currently sits at more than 29 million YouTube plays. He’s produced tracks for songwriter Låpsley and grime sensation Stormzy and has spent this year hitting festivals like Glastonbury, Coachella and Field Day. His protean sound is a singular strain of modern pop, taking cues from the wickedest trap snares and neon-smeared EDM as well as glints of Caribbean steel drum and African kalimba.

“He makes intelligent and beautiful pop music like no other,” guest vocalist and collaborator Bonzai told Rolling Stone. “I could spend forever in a studio with him.”

Bonzai was not alone in joining Crossan, as the likes of Gorillaz’ Damon Albarn, Charli XCX, Desiigner and Jamie Lidell all hopped into a studio with the producer. This month sees Mura Masa drop his highly anticipated, self-titled Downtown/Interscope debut, an assured amalgam of hip-hop, electronic dance music and sheer pleasure-center pop, with glints of hardcore punk, Himalayan folk and harps thrown in for good measure. Despite having so many distinct pop personalities on the album, Crossan combines them for a vision that is distinctly his own.

“I chose not to restrict myself in any way when making the record, to take influence from wherever I saw fit, to try and include people from all over,” Crossan tells Rolling Stone. “What I try to do as Mura Masa involves any kind of voice. I wouldn’t limit myself to any one genre or person. It could be anyone.”

Crossan grew up on the island of Guernsey,…